Six West Liberty-Salem cross country student athletes earned 2019 OATCCC All-Ohio Academic honors at Saturday’s state cross country championships. To be eligible student athletes grades 10-12 must have a 3.5 or higher grade point average and compete in the state meet. Earning this recognition for the Big Orange are Grace Adams, Megan Adams, Madison Bahan, Lydia Moell, Katelyn Stapleton and Mandilyn Weaver (pictured below)
The Big Orange girls cross country squad finished as the state runner-up in the Division III race at National Trail Raceway, capturing their highest state finish in school history.
“The girls showed so much composure today,” said longtime head coach Ann Vogel. “We were in fifth after the first 800, but they just kept working their way through the pack. They are a veteran team and they knew what to expect. I couldn’t be more proud of them. That last 800 was phenomenal. Everyone gave it their all.”
Minster and Ft. Loramie jumped out strong, but the Big Orange turned it up over the final half of the race to jump in the thick of the championship chase.
WL-S trailed Ft. Loramie by 44 points and Minster by 16 after the first mile. At the two-mile mark, the Big Orange were 26 points behind Minster and 13 from Ft. Loramie.
The Big Orange remained in third at the 2 1/2-mile mark, sitting 21 points away from Minster and five from the Redskins.
“The race played out very well for us,” said Megan Adams. “We just kept working hard to move up as the race went on.”
Megan Adams was one of three Big Orange runners to earn all-Ohio honors with top-30 finishes.
Also for the Big Orange, Madison Bahan was 52nd (20:08.6), Lydia Moell finished 68th (20:26.9), Mandilyn Weaver placed 124th (21:48.9) and Maggie Davis finished 128th (21:54.9).
The Big Orange girls are very familiar with competing with the cream of the crop in the state. Five of the seven runners that ran Saturday were instrumental in the track and field team’s state championship last spring.
“These girls expect to win,” said Vogel. “I didn’t think we would be state champs in track last spring, but these girls have very high expectations. They wanted to win today and that’s all they talked about. They gave it their all and I couldn’t ask for anything more out of them.”
Saturday’s race offered a lot of individual pride for the Big Orange runners as many of them overcame adversity to turn in stellar outings.
For Megan Adams, as of a few weeks ago, she wasn’t even sure if she would be able to run anymore this season. She suffered a broken foot early on this fall and was sidelined for most of the regular season.
“To be able to finish third is an amazing feeling,” she said. “I had a broken foot, but God blessed me with a quick recovery and gave me the ability to get back to my teammates.”
“Megan is pure guts,” said Vogel. “I remember her riding a bike in a boot while we practiced at Ohio Caverns. She just wanted to be there with her teammates. Her resilience has been amazing. She is one of those special kids that only come around every once in a while.”
Stapleton enjoyed a feeling of redemption after not being able to finish in the state meet as a freshman two years ago.
“I am so happy with how I finished,” she said. “I didn’t finish this race as a freshman, so it feels really good to be able to accomplish this.”
“Katelyn’s maturity and growth has been tremendous,” said Vogel. “She knew what she had to do and went out and did it. She passed 10 people in the last 800.”
Grace Adams, one of two seniors on the team along with Moell, also left a lasting legacy on the program with her all-Ohio performance.
“Grace has improved so much,” said Vogel. “She really took on the role of a leader and was a great example for the rest of the girls.”
Grace Adams and Moell became the 9th and 10th runners in program history to qualify for four consecutive state meets.
Rounding out the top 10 teams in the Division III standings Saturday were Liberty Center (161), Mt. Gilead (165), Centerburg (224), McDonald (252), Gilmour Academy (264), Columbus Grove (286) and Maplewood (289).
Springfield Catholic Central’s Addie Engel ran a blistering time of 17:46.9 to win the Division III race. Her time was a new course record. Her twin sister Bridget was fourth (18:44.5).
Waynesfield-Goshen’s Taylor Spencer also put on a standout showing with a sixth-place finish (18:52.2).
The West Liberty-Salem Big Orange Girls Cross Country team will be collecting hats and gloves for the underserved in our community.
From October 28 - November 1, West Liberty-Salem students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to donate new or gently used and clean hats and gloves to help keep those in need warm during the cold winter months.
Our goal this year is to collect 500 warm hats and gloves. Donation boxes will be located outside the school's main office and cafetorium.
The West Liberty-Salem Jr. High Big Orange cross country teams finished their season at the Middle School and Elementary State Cross Country Championships at Dublin Jerome High School on Sunday.
The girls were 1st out of 12 teams in the Division III race.
Addison McAuley was the individual champion in a time of 11:42. Her time was the fastest female in all divisions winning her the distinction of "Ohio's Fastest Middle School Girl."
Other Big Orange finishers:
Ashley Yoder 4th in 12:21
Lily Smith 8th 12:36
Claire Longshore 24th 13:24
Kerrigan Burgel 33rd 13:50
Anna Cole 43rd 14:08
Izzy Wygal 90th 15:39
Jane Fullenkamp 116th 18:41
Laney Craig 117th 18:45
Nevaeh LaFollette 123rd 20:28
The boys team finished 12th in the Division II race.
Troy Bradley 35th in 12:18
Joey LaRoche 54th 12:43
Quentin Rudolph 77th in 13:08
Clay McAuley 117th 14:32
Max Rudolph 126th 15:21
All photos courtesy of Scott Davis
The MS Big Orange Cross Country teams competed at the Max Evans Invitational hosted at the Ohio Caverns Saturday.
The boys finished 2nd out of 9 teams. The team was led by Andrew Kimball's 3rd place finish in a time of 11:47. There were 75 runners.
Other finishers for the Big Orange MS Boys were:
Ryan Henry was 6th 12:05
Owen Harrison 23rd 13:06
Joey Laroche 24th 13:08
Owen Garmin-King 35th 13:40
Philip Marr 47th 14:12
Sam Lauck 54th14:54
Mason Barger 61st, 15:41
The girls were 1st place out of 9 teams.
The team was led by Ashley Yoder and Taylor Kennedy who finished 2nd (12:40), and 3rd place (12:50) respectively. There were 74 runners.
Other finishers for the Big Orange MS Girls were:
Lilly Weaver 5th 13:30
Maggie Davis 8th 13:40
Makenzie Bahan 26th 14:52
Lily Smith 29th 15:02
The teams will compete next Saturday at the Buck Creek Invitational.
The race kicks off the 46th Annual Ohio Caverns Max Evans Memorial Cross Country Invitational. This year’s meet features 19 teams, including our own state ranked Big Orange boys and girls teams and state ranked Columbus Grove boys and girls teams.
8:30 a.m. Big Orange Alumni 5K
9:00 a.m. High School Boys
9:30 a.m. High School Girls
10:00 a.m. Middle School Boys
10:30 a.m. Middle School Girls
11:00 a.m. Awards and Senior Recognition
Special thanks to Eric Evans and the Ohio Caverns for hosting our meet!
The 2018 Kiwanis Logan County Cross Country Championships were held at Benjamin Logan Tuesday, August 28.
Runners from Bellefontaine, Benjamin Logan, Indian Lake, Riverside, Triad, and West Liberty-Salem competed. West Liberty-Salem took home Logan County titles in the High School Boys & Girls races, as well as the Middle School Boys & Girls races.
Please come out and support the 1977 Big Orange state championship cross country team at its induction into the West Liberty-Salem Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday night (Feb. 9th) before the start of the varsity boys basketball game. Let’s fill the gym wearing our Big Orange gear. There will be a dessert reception following the game in the auxiliary gym.
For more information visit www.wlstigers.org