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Juliette Keller, strong pack lead Medina to second-place finish at Strongsville Invitational

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STRONGSVILLE — Despite muddy course conditions Saturday, nothing could slow down Medina’s girls cross country team.

Behind a third-place finish from Juliette Keller and strong pack running, the Bees overcame slick terrain to take runner-up honors at the annual Vertical Runner Strongsville Invitational.

With Keller leading the charge, Medina had its top seven runners place in the top 50 to compile 128 points and finish behind Hudson. It was the Bees’ second runner-up finish in three weeks.

“We have really tried to emphasize getting the pack behind Juliette close together, and it has improved over the last few weeks,” Bees coach Scott VanFleet said. “We are happy with the way things are going and hope to put everything together by the end of the season.”

Keller kept the fast pace set by eventual winner Gracie Sprankle of Olentangy Liberty (18:29.93) en route to crossing the finish line in 18:53.86. The junior was just steps behind Highland’s Kaylie Kenne, who was second in 18:50.87.

“The muddy course made it difficult to maintain a great momentum,” Keller said. “Gracie’s strong start helped me to remain focused.”

The performances behind Keller led to the strong team finish. Olivia Roberts turned in a 16th-place 20:16.26, while Carmela Henning (29th place, 20:28.73), Maddie Miller (38th, 20:43.89) and Angela Dobson (42nd, 20:49.71) rounded out the scoring.

Keller was happy to see to the balance.

“Throughout the race, the team worked together to move us in second place,” she said. “They have been training really hard this season, and I give them credit for pulling in the points.”

The Kenne-led Hornets were sixth, while Brunswick, which ran just one upperclassman, took 17th.

Along with Kenne’s finish, sophomore Madelynn Madison placed 11th (19:51.71), while Elissa Scheel was 31st (20:33.80).

Kenne’s goal was to hang with her friend, Keller, and concentrate on navigating the slow and somewhat unfriendly course.

“I felt good during the race. However, it was very muddy and slippery in some spots,” the senior said. “I tried to say with Juliette the whole race and just pushed at the end to get second.

“I raced against (Sprankle) at the beginning of the year, so I knew she was going to go out fast. I tried to stay as close as possible.”

Brunswick junior Emily Bardwell wasn’t too far behind Kenne and Keller, as she finished fourth in 19:21.50 to lead a lineup that was missing Alyssa Wolf, Felicia Pasadyn and Nicholle Gatten.

A pair of Medina County runners placed in the top 20 of the boys race.

Medina’s Harry Custer and Highland’s Vince Manning finished 15th and 19th, respectively, in a field dominated by St. Ignatius and Hudson.

Canfield’s Giovanni Copploe set a blistering pace before winning in an impressive 15:57.77, while Evan Manley of Hudson not too far behind in 16:05.34.

Custer, who helped the Bees to sixth, started with the lead pack.

“I probably took the first mile out too fast,” he said. “I was trying to compete with the leaders who have always run faster than me. Going out how I did really made me hurt the last mile or so.

“Going out fast probably affected my finish for the worse, but that’s OK because that means I’m competing. I’ll just compete smarter next time.”

Manning wasn’t too far behind Custer in 16:57.61 as the Hornets were seventh. Highland’s Max McAdams (25th, 17:07.98) and Medina’s Caleb Cummings (26th, 17:10.61) also helped their respective teams.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.

Results

STRONGSVILLE — Results Saturday from the Vertical Runner Strongsville Invitational held at Strongsville High School. Top 10 individuals for each race and top seven from Medina County teams listed.

Boys

Team standings (out of 26): 1. St. Ignatius 72, 2. Hudson 83, 3. Solon 178, 4. Kenston 193, 5. University School 208, 6. Medina 229, 7. Highland 239, 8. Perrysburg 244, 9. Nordonia 280, 10. Lake 296, 15. Brunswick 397.

Individual standings: 1. Giovanni Copploe (Canfield) 15:57.77, 2. Evan Manley (Hud) 16:05.34, 3. Justin Iler (US) 16:11.88, 4. Nathan Moore (L) 16:15.91, 5. Ryan Adkins (Twinsburg) 16:19.64, 6. Nick Saul (St. I) 16:25.51, 7. Jakob McConnell (K) 16:27.80, 8. Ben Chao (US) 16:33.87, 9. Zach Shultz (P) 16:34.93, 10. Matt Blouch (St. I) 16:34.95.

Medina (229): 15. Harry Custer 16:45.48, 26. Caleb Cummings 17:10.61, 31. Graham Hayden 17:20.29, 76. Kevin Horrigan 17:59.87, 81. Michael Palocko 18:04.24, 99. Cameron Schontzler 18:11.68, 100. Charlie Heidenger 18:11.71.

Highland (239): 19. Vince Manning 16:57.61, 25. Max McAdams 17:07.98, 34. Avery Finding 17:23.26, 77. William Van Fossen 17:59.95, 84. Joseph Sewell 18:05.67, 136. Dylan Liggett 18:42.89, 147. Garrett Wright 18:52.16.

Brunswick (397): 36. Colton Uber 17:24.51, 44. Colin Murral 17:34.84, 60. Carter Almady 17:52.77, 127. Evan Jarold 18:32.74, 130. Jacob Keefer 18:36.74, 155. Brandon Kraft 18:58.84, 173. Adam Hyde 19:19.83.

Girls

Team standings (out of 28): 1. Hudson 117, 2. Medina 128, 3. Olentangy Liberty 147, 4. Louisville 174, 5. Beaumont 175, 6. Highland 185, 7. Perrysburg 217, 8. Lake 268, 9. Kenston 285, 10. Chagrin Falls 357, 17. Brunswick 441.

Individual standings: 1. Gracie Sprankle (OL) 18:29.93, 2. Kaylie Kenne (High) 18:50.87, 3. Juliette Keller (M) 18:53.86, 4. Emily Bardwell (Bru) 19:21.50, 5. Breanna Beucler (Hud) 19:26.07, 6. Morgan Cole (Lou) 19:31.25, 7. Mia Mlynek (Bea) 19:40.72, 8. Addison Ciecierski (Bea) 19:42.06, 9. Cassidy Kiko (Lou) 19:47.07, 10. Emmaline Hannan (Hud) 19:50.10.

Medina (128): 3. Keller 18:53.86, 16. Olivia Roberts 20:16.26, 29. Carmela Henning 20:28.73, 38. Maddie Miller 20:43.89, 42. Angela Dobson 20:49.71, 45. Ava Tenaglia 20:50.15, 49. Jessica Campbell 21:02.47.

Highland (185): 2. Kenne 18:50.87, 11. Madelynn Madison 19:51.71, 31. Elissa Scheel 20:33.80, 70. Amanda Orban 21:25.72, 71. Elizabeth Oberhaus 21:27.70, 76. Melissa Bearer 21:32.07, 102. Emma Cox 22:02.03.

Brunswick (441): 4. E. Bardwell 19:21.50, 78. Abby Bardwell 21:32.10, 116. Mariah Skocic 22:13.32, 118. Kaylee Latarewicz 22:14.70, 125, Emily Watkins 22:21.91, 148. Madison Daugherty 22:46.89, 187. Della Layner 23:42.81.



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