Cross country: Minster girls repeat as Div. III state champs


Fort Loramie girls finish fourth, boys finish seventh

By Greg Billing - For the Sidney Daily News



Minster’s Emma Watcke, right, and Kaitlynn Albers, center, run in the Division III girls state cross country race on Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. The Wildcats won the D-III title for the second consecutive season. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Fort Loramie’s Jake Rethman, center, runs in the Division III boys state cross country race on Saturday. The Redskins finished seventh. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Fort Loramie’s Joe Ballas runs in the D-III boys race state cross country race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Botkins' Austin Fullenkamp runs in the D-III boys race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Minster's Emma Watcke runs in the D-III girls race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Fort Loramie's Jake Rethman, right center (number 887), runs with other racers in the D-III state boys race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Versailles' Joe Spitzer runs in the D-II boys race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Russia's Megan Frazier, right, and Becca Seger, middle, run in the D-III girls race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Minster's Emma Watcke, right, and Kaitlynn Albers, center, run in the D-III girls state cross country race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


Minster's girls cross country team hoists the D-III state championship trophy on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News


HEBRON — The Minster girls cross country team did something at the Division III high school state championship meet no team had done since, well, since the Wildcats did it a year ago.

In another dominating effort, Minster re-established its D-III state meet records for lowest point total (34) and largest margin of victory (97) to capture its second straight team championship at National Trail Raceway near Columbus.

Minster sophomore Emma Watcke completed the Wildcats sweep with the individual state championship in 18:38.4 for a 14-second victory. She’s the first Minster runner to win state since Sunni Olding won her third and final title in 2003. As for the team championship, it was Minster’s state-record extending 11th overall.

The Wildcats won last year’s title with 38 points and a 57-point margin of victory.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a testament to the girls and what they do day in and day out,” Minster coach Jessie Magoto said. “People love to put us up there (as state contenders) but that doesn’t mean anything. All these girls (at state) train hard. You get out there, be confident and leave it all out there. You are going to run hard and be happy. Leave it out there no matter what happens.”

Minster’s 34 points beat runner-up Mount Gilead’s 131. Fort Loramie finished fourth, Versailles was 11th and Russia 16th.

Watcke was in third place after the first mile, moved into second after the second mile and took the lead for good with about 400 meters left in the 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) race.

“I went when I felt good,” Watcke said of her strategy. “Whenever I felt like I could sprint in all the way that’s when I went.”

“The biggest thing with her is she knows how to be patient and not let her emotions take over,” Magoto said. “When the time comes to lay down the hammer she’s a fierce competitor. She wanted to lead the way for the rest of the girls knowing the stronger she ran the others would feed off her.”

Minster sophomore Gwendolyn Meiring finished fourth overall (19:03), junior Kaitlynn Albers (9th; 19:12.6), sophomore Mackenzie Bohman (13th; 19:15), freshman Ella Boate (22nd; 19:26.5), senior Cassie Francis (47th; 20:08.5) and junior Madeline Magoto (50th; 20:14.5) completed the top seven runners.

Fort Loramie sophomore Danielle Berning led the Redskins in 27th (19:43.6). Sophomore Paige Rethman (33rd; 19:53.1) and freshmen Danielle Eilerman (66th; 20:26.4), Caitlyn Gasson (71st; 20:28.3), Angel Rodriguez (102nd; 20:59.3), Corynn Heitkamp (109th; 21:07.6) and Clara Gephart (137th; 21:34.9) also competed.

Versailles’s senior Kenia McEldowney finished 63rd in 20:25.2 to lead the Tigers. She was followed by senior Megan Rismiller (93; 20:51.3); freshman Maria Mangen (103; 21:00.8), senior Dana Rose (125; 21:24.9) freshman Kennedy McEldowney (133; 21:32.5), junior Liz Watren (149; 21:57) and sophomore Hannah Bey (150; 21:57.5).

Russia senior Megan Frazier was 26th overall in 19:39.2. Other Raiders runners included freshman Becca Seger (77; 20:35.9), junior Claire Meyer (107; 21:05.3), junior Anna Fiessinger (161; 22:23.4), sophomore Clare Caldwell (166; 22:41.4), senior Becky Pinchot (172; 23:06.5) and junior Emma Delaet (181; 24:22.2).

Running as individuals were Houston junior Hollie Voisard (28; 19:44.8) and Covington junior Paige Boehringer (42; 20:03.7).

In the boys D-III meet, defending state champion Fort Loramie finished seventh. The Redskins finished 84 points behind champion East Canton.

“We felt like we had a chance to defend the title,” said Redskins junior Joe Ballas, who finished fifth overall in 16:12.5. “When you give it your best that’s all you can ask for. We learned a lot, I think. … My whole goal was to try and beat everyone on East Canton. I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed we weren’t able to do it as a team. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I know everyone gave everything they had. I’m proud of all my teammates because they’re great guys.”

Ballas was joined by junior Jake Rethman (37; 16:47.9), senior Noah Siegel (65; 17:05.1); senior Collin Luthman (101; 17:34.5); sophomore Jordan Drees (123; 17:54.1), junior Gavin Schulze (132; 18:09.3) and junior Mitchell Berning (18:24).

“We thank everyone that supported us. We have a really great community behind us,” Ballas said. “We’re just really grateful. … It wasn’t the best day. It’s been a great season.”

Also in D-III, Houston’s boys finished 15th and Minster 17th.

Houston’s team consisted of junior Tristin Freistuhler (69; 17:08.8) junior Ethan Knouff (80; 17:16.4), sophomore Blake Jacobs (118; 17:50.3), senior Dakota Francis (129; 17:58.8), junior Jacob Slater (137; 18:16.3), senior Parker Cox (150; 18:27.9) and sophomore Patrick Meiring (157; 18:41.3).

Minster’s runners were junior Jon Albers (109; 17:37.1), sophomore Luke Barga (115; 17:49.1), senior Andrew Broering (128; 17:56.6), senior Carter Pohl (138; 18:16.3), senior Ryan Cavanaugh (141; 18:17.9), sophomore Lawrence Hernandez (168; 18:56.7) and junior Aaron Huwer (183; 21:45).

Botkins senior Austin Fullenkamp finished 58th in 17:00.7.

In the D-II boys meet, Versailles senior Joe Spitzer wanted a top-three finish knowing nationally ranked Buckeye Valley runner Zach Kreft was the heavy favorite.

Spitzer was in ninth after the first mile and moved into fourth after two miles. But he couldn’t gain any more ground and finished fifth overall in 16:01.9.

Kreft won in 15:20.6 for a 21-second victory over Lexington’s Ryan Johnston, who Spitzer was trying to pace himself with.

“I was hoping to stay with Ryan. I just couldn’t keep up with him today,” said Spitzer, who finished ninth last season. “I just wasn’t feeling too great. I was hoping to come in here and get second or third. It’s still an improvement and it’s still top five.”

Minster’s Emma Watcke, right, and Kaitlynn Albers, center, run in the Division III girls state cross country race on Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. The Wildcats won the D-III title for the second consecutive season. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Minster-Emma-Watcke-128-Kaitlynn-Albers-122-2.jpgMinster’s Emma Watcke, right, and Kaitlynn Albers, center, run in the Division III girls state cross country race on Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. The Wildcats won the D-III title for the second consecutive season. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Jake Rethman, center, runs in the Division III boys state cross country race on Saturday. The Redskins finished seventh. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Jake-Rethman-Fort-Loramie-877-.jpgFort Loramie’s Jake Rethman, center, runs in the Division III boys state cross country race on Saturday. The Redskins finished seventh. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Joe Ballas runs in the D-III boys race state cross country race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Joe-Ballas-Fort-Loramie-873-.jpgFort Loramie’s Joe Ballas runs in the D-III boys race state cross country race on Saturday. Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Botkins’ Austin Fullenkamp runs in the D-III boys race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Austin-Fullenkamp-Botkins.jpgBotkins’ Austin Fullenkamp runs in the D-III boys race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Minster’s Emma Watcke runs in the D-III girls race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Emma-Watcke-Minster.jpgMinster’s Emma Watcke runs in the D-III girls race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Jake Rethman, right center (number 887), runs with other racers in the D-III state boys race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Jake-Rethman-Fort-Loramie-2-877-.jpgFort Loramie’s Jake Rethman, right center (number 887), runs with other racers in the D-III state boys race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Versailles’ Joe Spitzer runs in the D-II boys race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Joe-Spitzer-Versailles.jpgVersailles’ Joe Spitzer runs in the D-II boys race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Russia’s Megan Frazier, right, and Becca Seger, middle, run in the D-III girls race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Russia-Megan-Frazier-237-Becca-Seger-240-.jpgRussia’s Megan Frazier, right, and Becca Seger, middle, run in the D-III girls race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Minster’s Emma Watcke, right, and Kaitlynn Albers, center, run in the D-III girls state cross country race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Minster-Emma-Watcke-128-Kaitlynn-Albers-122-.jpgMinster’s Emma Watcke, right, and Kaitlynn Albers, center, run in the D-III girls state cross country race on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Minster’s girls cross country team hoists the D-III state championship trophy on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/11/web1_Minster-state-cahmpions.jpgMinster’s girls cross country team hoists the D-III state championship trophy on Saturday.

Greg Billing | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie girls finish fourth, boys finish seventh

By Greg Billing

For the Sidney Daily News