HEBRON — In the anxious moments following the Division III girls cross country state meet, Minster coach Jessie Magoto burned a path of her own on the National Trail Raceway drag strip briskly walking from the officials’ scoring trailer to the awards staging area and points between.
Magoto and her Wildcats — as well as the West Liberty-Salem Tigers and Fort Loramie Redskins — were waiting to hear the results of an official review that could change the final team scoring.
It wasn’t the possibility of losing a state championship that concerned Magoto. It was the thought of her runners thinking they let themselves down.
“I never want them to be judged or their valued based on winning,” Magoto said. “The older I get the more emotional I get about that. They’re always champions, no matter what. The kids get a lot of pressure to go out there and win. I just want them to go after it and leave it out there.”
And Saturday, the Wildcats left as state champs. Again. Minster won its fourth straight state championship and 13th overall.
This one was the closest yet. Minster scored 79 points to edge runner-up West Liberty-Salem’s 89. Fort Loramie was third with 90 points. Minster won its previous three titles by 96, 88 and 57 points.
“It’s awesome,” said Minster senior Gwen Meiring. “Coming in my freshman year I didn’t have a thought that would happen. … It’s the coolest feeling knowing you have the chance. We put it all out there.”
Minster, West Liberty-Salem and Fort Loramie combined to hold the top three spots in 10 of 11 state polls.
“We knew we’d have to race well to have a chance to beat them,” Fort Loramie coach Dennis Prenger said. “We certainly put our best effort out there. A lot of years that would have been enough, but this year we came up just a little short. You have to tip your hat to Minster and WLS; they had a slightly better day, but third is still an outstanding day.
“I told our girls that I was disappointed for them, but I’ve never been disappointed in them.”
Minster junior Ella Boate (10th, 18:58.5) and freshman Taylor Roth (17th, 19:10.1) both finished among the top 30 to earn All-Ohio honors. Junior Mason Pohl (37th, 19:41.7), senior Mackenzie Bohman (38th, 19:43.8), freshman Cameo Cedarleaf (54th, 20:14.0), Meiring (76th, 20:32.3) and sophomore Emma Meyer (101st, 21:10.1) rounded out the championship roster.
“We told each other we weren’t nervous,” Meiring said of trying to keep the title streak intact. “Internally I was wondering. Whatever happened I’d be happy. It’s a great group of girls. It’s amazing having the team I have.”
Fort Loramie also had a pair of all-Ohio runners with sophomore Olivia Borchers (14th place, 19:06.2) and freshman Ava Turner (25th, 19:20.1). Also running for the Redskins were junior Dani Eilerman (33rd, 19:36.9), sophomore Claire Rethman (39th, 19:46.1), sophomore Anna Detrick (59th, 20;16.4), junior Corynn Heitkamp (45th, 20:43.3) and junior Caitlyn Glasson (87th, 20:50.3).
The Versailles Tigers girls finished 16th in the D-III meet. Competing were junior Maria Mangen (93rd, 21:04.7), sophomore Madelyn Holzapfel (96th, 21:08.1), junior Lauren Menke (111th, 21:27.8), senior Hannah Bey (123rd, 21:41.1), sophomore Kaylee Phelan (135th, 22:10.5), sophomore Delaney Barga (145th, 22:22.9) and senior Emma Peters (146th, 22:27.6).
Individual qualifiers included Russia junior Becca Seger (64th 20:20.7) and Houston sophomore Ava Knouff (71st, 20:28.2).
In the D-III boys meet, Anna sophomore Lucas Smith finished 11th in 16:27.1 and sophomore Hayden Schmidt 26th in 16:44.6 for All-Ohio honors. The Rockets finished sixth as a team along with junior Jacob Robinson (55th, 17:09.6), senior Caleb Gaier (100th, 17:42.5), junior Nick Fry (124th, 17:56.8), sophomore Collin Frilling (148th, 18:15.8) and junior Conner McKinney (164th, 18:43.1).
“I’ll take 11th,” Lucas said. “I wasn’t even here last year and to medal and be all-Ohio at the state meet is something to be proud of. … There are just so many teams in the state that are so good. Next year we’re going to come back and hopefully be one of those top teams next year.”
Botkins’ all-Ohio sophomore Collin Watterson paced the Trojans in 23rd with a time of 16:40. Also running for the Trojans were junior Alan Fullenkamp (48th, 17:01.5), freshman Keaton Schnippel (105th, 17:45.7), junior Donovan Brown (106th, 17:46.3), senior Elliot Goubeaux (110th, 17:46.5), freshman Carter Pleiman (146th, 18:14.6) and sophomore Cole Steinke (166th, 18:46).
Minster’s boys finished 16th behind all-Ohio sophomore Alex Albers, who finished 10th in 16:24. He was joined by senior Luke Barga (78th, 17:29.4), senior Austin Felice (119th, 17:54.3), junior Brock Schulte (145th, 18:12.4), sophomore Joseph Slonkosky (157th, 18:23.1), sophomore Tyler Prenger (165th, 18:44.9) and junior Joel Berelsman (172nd, 19:19.9).
Fort Loramie sophomore Colten Gasson was all-Ohio in 20th in 16:30 and Houston senior Blake Jacobs (76th, 17:27) represented the Wildcats.