The West Liberty-Salem girls cross country team earned its seventh consecutive DIII state berth Saturday at the Troy Southwest Regional meet. The Big Orange ranked #5 in the latest DIII state coaches poll was edged out by #2 state-ranked Ft. Loramie by 1 point to place second overall. The top three teams qualified for next week’s state meet.
The duo of Ashley Yoder and Malia Miller powered the Big Orange with top-10 finishes. Yoder placed 6th (19:46) and Miller 7th (19:51). Breece Gullet ran for 15th place (20:31) and Addison McAuley and Gwen McCullough recorded top 25 finishes with McAuley placing 22nd (20:49) and McCullough 23rd (20:52). Taylor Kennedy placed 37th (21:33) and Claire Longshore 51st (22:13).
“The girls left it all out on the course today against two top 10 state-ranked teams,” said WLS head coach, Ann Vogel. “I’m so proud of the fight and determination they showed throughout the race. Qualifying for the state meet is always tough, and today’s race is a testament to their work ethic, love for their team, and commitment to the tradition of the Big Orange program.”
WLS will compete at the OHSAA State Championships Saturday at The Fortress in Obetz starting at 11:45 a.m.
West Liberty-Salem boys, #3 in this week’s OATCCC D3 State Poll, finished Regional Runner Up at the D3 Troy Regional. It’s the second consecutive year finishing Regional Runner Up and will be the teams 5th consecutive trip to State. It also marks the program’s 21st state appearance.
Sr. Owen Harrison 3rd 16:44.7; Fr. Garrett Wallen 13th 16:58.5; Jr. Joey LaRoche 20th 17:16.5 PR; Fr. Dylan King 21st 17:17.0 PR; So. Troy Bradley 29th 17:34.3; So. Quentin Rudolph 33rd 17: 40.2; Fr. Brevin Louden 46th 18:09.1
Comments from head coach Mike Louden:
“I’m very proud of the way this team responded after all of the sicknesses that has run its course through the program this week. Qualifying to state for the 5th consecutive year is a testament of this team’s fight and character. In fact, today we ran without Asher Knox the team’s #2 runner who didn’t compete because of illness. Just happy for the whole team stepping up in his absence and running an outstanding team race. We’re hopeful he’ll be back next week to help us at the state meet. Senior Owen Harrison ran an almost flawless race moving up methodically from 35th at mile 1 to finish in 3rd to lead the team. Freshmen Garrett Wallen rose to the occasion and delivered a top-15 finish, which is incredible for a freshmen. Junior Joey LaRoche and Freshmen Dylan King both had remarkable races and set career personal bests. Troy Bradley also ran a solid race rounding out the scoring for the Big Orange. Quentin Rudolph and Brevin Louden ran great races despite coming off of illnesses.”
Here’s the link for tickets and here is the link for directions and more information about the state meet at The Fortress in Obetz.