NWOAL Championship Recap

Grace on her way to NWOAL All League Honorable Mention
Grace on her way to NWOAL All League Honorable Mention
Claudia with a strong finish at the NWOAL League Meet
Claudia with a strong finish at the NWOAL League Meet


This is the kind of meet we live for.  The weather, the times, the fun…this is cross country.  Our runners gave amazing efforts in this race.

2015 NWOAL team huddle
Coach Hesson and Coach Schwan huddle with the high school girls team before the start of the race
2015 NWOAL Lilly 2
Lilly gives it her all down the home stretch
Leah pushes to the finish with Coach Schwan looking on (and maybe yelling a little bit)
Leah pushes to the finish with Coach Schwan looking on (and maybe yelling a little bit)
2015 NWOAL Phoenix
Phoenix nears the two mile mark of his race
2015 NWOAL John 2
John keeps pace with runners from Archbold

For the high school, we were thrown a bit of a curve ball. When we ran at the NWOAL Preview meet last month, we were amazed at how fast the course seemed.  When we saw the times come in for the first mile and then for the end of the race, it seemed to confirm just how fast the course was, and this seemed to make sense because the weather was perfect and it was a very flat, open course. Well, as it turned out, the course was short by almost a tenth of a mile (160 meters), meaning the times for the NWOAL League Championship were about 45-60 seconds faster than they would have been for a full 5000 meter race.  It’s not clear how this error was made, but it brought the runners down off an incredible high when they learned about it the following day.

However, even accounting for the short course we still would have had at least six of the ten high school runners PR.  When you smash your personal record by over FOUR MINUTES like Pete did, even a course error can’t take that away from you.  Ditto for Lilly and Claudia, who took  1:22 and 2:07 off their times, respectively. Looking at the splits, a lot of the error must have been in the first mile because all of our runners were extremely fast.  We’ve preached all year going out with a controlled first mile, and having a faster-than-expected split posts a major mental challenge that can really affect a race.  We knew though that the course was fast going in and talked about it, so it was great to see all of our runners roll with it when the they heard their mile times.  While the times were too good to be true, part of what made them so believable was how well each of our runners handled the race tactically and strategically. As coaches, we could not ask for more.

Here are the complete results for the High School:

Last Name First Name Finish Place
VanOstrand Phoenix 18:49 45
Miller Brendan 20:33 64
Ruth John 24:30 78
Mitchey Jared 24:45 79
Simon Pete 25:51 80
Bryson Grace 21:53 20*
Kuszmaul Lilly 22:35 28
Schwan Leah 23:44 37
McCormick Alexis 27:28 49
Cromly Claudia 32:30 51

*NWOAL All League Honorable Mention

Ben and Shane receive league recognition for their 4th and 8th place finishes
Ben and Shane receive league recognition for their 4th and 8th place finishes

The middle school race was much the same, with the added bonus that the course was actually accurate.  There are two runners in particular I want to call out: Kennedy and Evan.  Kennedy didn’t have the race she wanted. She came in expecting a fast course where she could potentially PR again, and instead she had to fight through a difficult run.  Experienced runners know this just happens sometimes, and you just make the best of it and look to redeem yourself another day.  What really stood out though was the comment we got from someone else at the meet telling us Kennedy got the unofficial sportsmanship award. Despite struggling through the race, she made it a point to encourage other runners in the race who were also having a tough time.  The finish time wasn’t what she expected, but she handled the race like a pro.

Evan had a similarly inspiring effort. He had missed practice earlier in the week to see the doctor, and unbeknownst to us was given some medication that had the potential to cause stomach cramps. Well, that potential was realized during this race, and he fought through the entire second half with severe cramps that would make most runners quit.  The strategy going in was for Chandler and Evan to run together, and Evan did everything he could to stay with him as long as possible.  The result, despite the challenge and the pain, was a new lifetime PR.

Ben, Shane, Chandler and Chris also set new personal bests in this race. Ben made good on the unofficial time from Clay and set a new school record.  Shane smashed his personal best by over 30 seconds and also beat the previous school record.  Both finished in the top ten for the NWOAL. Chandler took almost a full minute off his best time, and Chris shaved over 20 seconds off his.

Here are the complete results for the Middle School:

Last Name First Name Finish Place
Keller Kennedy 15:07 36
Schwan Ben 11:47 4
Ruetz Shane 12:04 8
Ruetz Chandler 14:24 62
Pennington Evan 14:31 63
Harzell Chris 16:15 74

Full Event Results are available on Baumspage.

Despite the frustration with the high school course errors, this was a very successful meet for our team with lots of positives to take away.  The middle school is done for the year, and the high school finishes up next weekend at the District Championship at Widewater Retreat.

(Thanks to Angie VanOstrand, Theresa Bryson and Robin Mitchey for the pics. Apologies for not having more pics from the middle school!)

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