Cross Country: Ewert’s course record leads Beavercreek to district title

Before moving to the Dayton area, Savannah Roark knew of the Centerville Elks’ girls cross country accomplishments even in West Virginia.

And if word truly does travel fast – especially as fast as the Beavercreek Beavers – Roark’s friends back in West Virginia are likely becoming familiar with the Beavers’ program, too.

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Led by junior Taylor Ewert’s course record and junior teammate Roark’s runner-up finish, Beavercreek won the Division I district championship at Cedarville University on Saturday. Beavercreek scored 67 points in the super district that crowned the top two teams as district champs, meaning Springboro also won a district championship with its 86 points.

Ewert continued her record-breaking season by winning in 17 minutes, 14 seconds on Saturday. That established a high school girls 5K record on the Elvin R. King course, eclipsing the 17:27.6 set by Troy’s Morgan Gigandet last season. Ewert’s time just missed the women’s college 5K course record of 17:23.3 set in 2010.

Last week at the Greater Western Ohio Conference championship meet Ewert ran a 16:57 to became the third girl in Ohio girls cross country history to break 17 minutes.

As for Roark, when she lived in West Virginia she competed against a girl who moved from Centerville. So when Roark’s dad was transferred to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Elks were the first program she considered. She also looked at Fairborn before deciding on Beavercreek.

“At my old school I wasn’t used to having competition,” said Roark, who finished in 18:32.4 Saturday. “Coming here I have girls to run with every day, plus Taylor running a minute faster than us. It’s pretty motivating. … Our team is ranked in the nation. It’s crazy. That’s not what I’m used to so it’s pretty awesome.”

Centerville ran its reserve team at district – giving its varsity a breather – and finished fifth. The top eight teams advanced to next week’s regional meet at Troy. Both Beavercreek, ranked No. 8 in the nation by, and No. 18 Centerville will be a full strength.

On Saturday, Beavercreek placed three runners among the top five with Ewert, Roark and sophomore Juliann Williams (fourth). Senior Bently Barrett (23rd) and senior Emma Johnson (37th) rounded out the team’s top five scorers.

“We feel pretty good,” Ewert said. We’re just hoping everyone can stay injury free and healthy. You never know what’s going to happen at the end of the season. But as long as we’re all having a good time and running the times we need that’s all that matters.”

In D-I boys, both Miamisburg and Centerville claimed district titles. Centerville senior Ben Burkett finished second (15:33.9) to lead the Elks and Miamisburg senior Parker Hines was sixth (16:09.06).

Runners had to battle a steady 20 mph wind in addition to 30 mph gusts Saturday. In the D-II girls race they also had to contend with Oakwood freshman Grace Hartman. Hartman, who gave up a promising prep tennis career for cross country, won the district title in 18:22.95. She raced with Springfield Shawnee freshman Audrey DeSantis most of the way before pulling away during the third mile for the 7.9-second victory.

“I was thinking of it as a workout going in. Having a fun time,” Hartman said of her strategy. “I try not to get too stressed about the races. I was going out for fun.”

Tippecanoe junior Bryce Conley won the boys D-II championship by 7.85 seconds over Springfield Northwestern junior Drew Blazer. Bellbrook and Tippecanoe won D-II girls district titles and Springfield Shawnee and Eaton the D-II boys titles.

Fort Loramie senior Joseph Ballas (16:16.21) edged Arcanum senior Tanner Delk by 0.5 seconds to win the D-III boys district championship. West Liberty-Salem and Fort Loramie won the team titles. In D-III girls, Catholic Central junior Addie Engel (19:06.58) won by 13.41 seconds over West Liberty-Salem freshman Megan Adams. West Liberty-Salem and Fort Loramie were team district champions.

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