Steps before crossing the finish line, the smile started to spread across Lebanon senior Jacquelyn Crow’s face as she crossed into Warrior history.
Crow out-dueled and out-gutted Sylvania Northview’s Janelle Noe to claim the Division I state cross country championship Saturday at National Trail Raceway in 17:39.31. Noe finished in 17:40.88.
“I am so happy right now,” Crow said as her smile continued to grow. “I just wanted to go out and run the best race I could and either way it would be fine as long as I did my best.”
Crow’s title capped a banner day for Miami Valley athletes at the state cross country meet. Versailles senior Sammuel Prakel opened the day by defending his Division III individual title. Sam Wharton (Tipp City), Sarah Kanney (Coldwater) and Mary Kate Vaughn (Oakwood) also claimed individual titles. Centerville’s girls finished second in the D-I race, Coldwater’s girls were second in D-III and Alter’s girls were third in D-II.
The key for Prakel was to forget about last year and focus on the task at hand. Prakel led throughout the D-III race in defending his title in 15:16.
“What I did last year can help me, but I can’t repeat last year,” Prakel said. “It is a whole new race this year. This was more of an adaptive race today, which makes a huge difference. It was unique and different, but just as good as last year.”
For Wharton, the win came after just missing a title last year as a junior. Wharton turned a tight race after the first mile into an eight-second win, finishing in 15:09.
“I had some big goals after last season,” Wharton said. “Coming into this cross season, a championship was the goal.”
Vaughn, a freshman, had no problems winning the girls D-II race, taking her first state title by 40 seconds in finishing in 17:41. Kanney’s win was crucial in helping Coldwater finish second with 116 points. Liberty Center, coached by former Greenville standout Tim Atkinson, defended its title with 101 points.
“We really wanted a state championship, but I am excited to be state runner-up,” Kanney said after finishing in 17:58. “When you are a team, everything is about the team first, and it is a pretty neat feeling (to finish second).”
Alter entered the girls D-II race ranked 12th but finished third with 158 points.
“I told the girls we are going to shoot for first, but third was attainable if we were focused,” Alter junior Alex Groene said after pacing the squad with a 29th-place finish in 19:19. “I knew we could do it and today we came together, dropped a bunch of time and everything worked out for the best.”
Centerville concluded the day with a second-place finish in the girls D-I race. Mason ran away with the title with 42 points, Centerville was second with 142 and Beavercreek third with 147.
The second place finish wiped away the pain of last season’s 12th-place finish.
“We were the last van to leave last season,” Centerville coach Dave Dobson said. “They made up their mind then that they were going to come back and do better and they ran really well today.”
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