PATASKALA — Many of the area’s best cross country teams annually take part in the Watkins Memorial McGowan Invitational because that’s where district competition will be held in mid-October and the competition is thus very, very good.
The Logan Chieftains (18th out of 19 teams) and Lady Chiefs (15th out of 15) were among those teams participating in Saturday’s meet.
And while the team numbers may not show it, individually a lot of Logan runners — male and female — achieved personal record times.
Olentangy Liberty (53 points) claimed the Division I boys meet, with Granville (94) finishing second and New Albany (105) third. Logan’s team score was 430.
The Chiefs got another strong performance out of senior Gabe Rosado, who was 27th (17:03.2) out of 127 participants in the varsity boys DI race. Josh Franco was 68th (17:49.5) and Ethan Long 98th (18:30.7).
Also running for the Logan thinclads were Colin Rimkus (19:21.2), Dylan Burns (19:30), Kayden Reed (19:32.8) and Izak Bukky (19:45.3).
“The boys did great Saturday,” said Logan coach Connor Cox. “While we did place 18 of 19, the boys saw great PRs for the season and some of them personal bests from any year.
“Gabe Rosado faced many well-known running teams in our district,” he added. “Other PR times included Ethan Long, Colin Rimkus and Kayden Reed. This was a season PR for almost everyone on the varsity squad. Great day!”
Six Chiefs ran in the DI reserve race. Lancaster (16) dominated that event, with Logan (580) 18th.
Logan times were Brody Boyle (a PR at 21:27.3), Zach Herring (24:19.9), Scott Littler (24:32.7), Jonathan Corbett (27:40.9), Teddy Pfarr (30:05.8) and Jared Bartch (34:45.3).
Lancaster (89), New Albany (95) and Olentangy Liberty (105) were the top three teams in the DI varsity girls race. Logan had a team score of 419.
Sophomore Sophie Boelk (22:24.6) turned in Logan’s best time and finished 64th out of 100 runners. Julia Ly (22:55.5), Avery Thompson (24:03), Grace Mullett (25:05.5), Tavi Smith (25:33.5) and Grace Smith (26:31) also ran the popular Licking County course.
“The girls continue to push towards their goals and work on consistent pacing, especially through the second mile,” said Lady Chiefs coach Hannah Shull.
“Sophie Boelk is running almost two minutes faster this season than she was averaging last year, beating her 2018 season PR by a whole minute on Saturday,” she continued. “Julia Ly PRd by over a minute to skip finishing in the 23s and finish at 22:55. Avery Thompson finished third, pushing through a sickness, and Grace Mullett pushed through some mental obstacles to finish fourth on the team.
“Both Tavi Smith and Grace Smith are newcomers to the varsity squad and are performing well to that new pressure. Tavi finished at her 2018 season best and Grace crushed her 2018 season best by two minutes.”
Shull acknowledged the difficulty of running the Watkins meet.
“The varsity race is mentally challenging at Watkins, as it is very small (in the number of runners) and we’re competing against some of the best teams,” she said. “I think the group we competed with did well remaining competitive and pushing themselves, but we certainly have some ways to go before districts and still have plenty of wiggle room with who that lineup could be.”
Logan’s reserve girls were eighth (233) out of 12 teams in the DI reserve race, which was won by New Albany (26).
Lady Chiefs times were Brooke Lindsey (24:44), Abby Burggraf (25:38.6), Addi Decot (25:54.2), Mahala Taulbee (26:28.1), Grace Woodgeard (26:34), Tara Sigafoose (27:20.7), Logan Leffler (27:45.5), Madison Colvin (27:51.8), Carmen Bowlby (27:52.6), Ally Bias (27:55.3), Morgan Spencer (28:37.7), Maddy Mullett (28:37.8), Hope Monk (29:11.8), Ally Wollenberg (30:24.4), Kaleigh Alford (30:45) and Cece Greco (30:59.1).
“For our reserve team I could not be happier,” Shull said. “Most of the girls attained overall or season PRs. One standout was Addi Decot. This is only her second season, and Addi has shown amazing determination this season, Saturday by crushing last year’s PR by a whole minute.”
Taulbee, Wollenberg and Kaleigh Alford all bested their PRs by two minutes and Monk, Burggraf and Bowlby were around a minute better than their personal records.
“Our next few weeks we will be shifting our focus from endurance to speed, but also moving from individual goals to team goals,” Shull pointed out. “I’m hoping we can maintain the determination and positivity that we have through the second half of this season.”
Saturday’s meet began a stretch in which the Chiefs and Lady Chiefs run only on Saturdays in the month of September. They travel to the Fairfield Union Invitational next Saturday.