COLDWATER — Coldwater was the center of the cross country world in this area Thursday night, with the annual Lion’s Invitational taking place.
And when it was over, the top-ranked Minster girls showed it’s going to take someone very good to keep them from claiming the Division 3 title this season.
In a field that included 20 teams, Minster nearly shut the other 19 out, finishing with just 22 points to easily outdistance runner-up Versailles with 128.
After a St. Marys runner crossed the line first, Minster had five of the next six spots. Kaci Bornhorst was second, Morgan Pohl third, Maggie Meiring fourth, Kaitlyn Albers sixth and Madeline Magoto seventh.
Makenna Brackman of New Bremen was fifth and Kara Spitzer of Versailes took eighth. Also for Verailles, Brynna Blakeley placed 26th overall, Liz Watren 30th, Hannah Rose 42nd and Tori Schulze 47th.
Lehman was led by Alanna O’Leary in 15th place in 20:43.31. Teammate Jenna Zimmerman placed 23rd.
Leading Fort Loramie was Rachel Schmitmeyer, who finished 27th, while Marion Local’s top runner was Brianne Homan in 39th place.
• Meanwhile, the Fort Loramie boys took first place out of 23 teams, winning by a healthy 70-point margin with 40 to 110 for runner-up Lincolnview.
Jake Rethman was second, Tom Ballas fourth, Joe Ballas sixth, Noah Siegel 11th and Alan Holdheide 17th
Joe Spitzer of Versailles was the race winner in 16:35.7, and Rethman was a couple seconds back in 16:37.42.
Ben Butler of Minster placed third and Cort Speckman of New Bremen took eighth.
Lehman’s No. 1 runner was Isaiah Winhoven in 62nd place.
Jackson Center’s Parker Morris ran a good race, placing 33rd, and New Knoxville’s Marcus Nitschke finished in 42nd spot.
The Minster girls also won the junior high race, edging Fort Loramie 41-49. There were 16 teams.
Kate Larger of Minster was first in 12:15.33 and teammate Gwen Meiring took fourth place. Janae Hoying was 11th, Mackenzie Bohman 13th and Ella Boate 15th.
Fort Loramie had three in the top 10, led by Paige Rethman in sixth in 12:45.18. Danielle Eilerman was seventh and Clara Gephart finished in 10th spot.
Corynn Heitkamp added a 12th-place finish for Loramie and Hannah Siegel was 19th.
• The Minster junior high boys were second in the fihnal standings behind Van Wert, which beat out 11 other teams.
Minster’s top finisher was Austin Felice in 11th place. Grant Koening was 13th and Luke Barga 14th. Ethan Westerheide added a 16th-place finish.
Two County runners made the top 10. Jordan Drees was seventh for Fort Loramie, and Jackson Center’s Christopher Elchert was one spot behind in eighth.
Matthew McDonald and Chris Goettemoeller of Lehman were 25th and 27th, respectively.