Lady Lions, Trojans top NSC 3-way

BREMEN — Bremen’s girls cross country team earned an ideal finish at Tuesday’s Northern State Conference three-way with visiting Triton and LaVille.
The Lady Lions top five crowded out the top five overall spots in the field to breeze to the top of the meet standings with 15 points. A pretty nice finish under any circumstances, but an especially impressive result racing without the team’s usual number one.
Brooke Bahr paced the field with a 21:53 stop, while Bri Andrews, Allison Cullers, Ellen Fox and Maddy Coffel finished in order in the two through five spots to beat out Triton’s 47 and LaVille’s score of 75 at the Lions’ home course at Jane’s Park in Bremen Tuesday.
“They did great tonight,” said Bremen assistant coach Meredith Eakins, filling in for head coach Jeff Fitch. “Our number one Brooke has been consistently up there at the top of our pack and within the next two to five, they’ve really switched around the last few meets. One will be up there, and the next week another one will be up there. They’re really pushing each other — Bri Andrews, Allison Cullers, Ellen Fox and Maddy Coffel — they’re pushing each other in the meets and in practice, so that’s good to see out there.”
The sweep was made all the more impressive by the absence of number one runner Sara Slabaugh, who was sidelined with an Achilles tendon injury Tuesday.
“She’s still working out and working with her therapist on certain dates she’s going to run and certain dates, less important meets, she’s going to take off to make sure she’s not going to hurt herself worse. She’s playing it safe right now,” said Eakins.
Actually, Triton competed without its top two runners at the meet.
With Allie Kann and Lexi Miller both out with nagging injuries, Kayleigh Craig and Taylor Hatfield finished in sixth and seventh, respectively, while Makayla Musilli was ninth, Courtney Burns and Aimee Gladieux were 12th and 13th, and Megan Hayes finished in 15th.
“It’s still early in the year. A three-way meet, it’s good just to see where we’re at,” said Triton head coach Wes Rettinger. “And we’ll see Bremen five or six more times. I’m very happy with some of these kids. Aimee Gladieux had a really nice finish today. Kayleigh Craig had a really nice race today, Taylor Hatfield ran a nice race. Their times are going to just keep coming down.”
Kann’s and Miller’s absence at Tuesday’s meet was probably academic, as Rettinger expected them to finish in the first and third or second and third spots, but likely not enough to push Triton over the top of Bremen. At this early point in the season, the Trojans skipper is weighing his options on how best to restore the top two runners to the Lady Trojans lineup.
“Allie’s got plantar’s fasciitis, so we’re going to see what we’re going to do with that — we’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do with there, run her on the weekends only or what. Lexi’s having hip and back pain, and she just said it was too painful today,” he said.
While the Lady Trojans had to settle for second best, Triton’s boys won their meet with 15 points with Bremen unable to field a team score with only four runners and LaVille in second with a score of 40.
Bryce Wanemacher and Derek Johston placed second and third, respectively, while Cordell Sherow, Landon Kaufman and Bailey Watkins finished in fifth through seventh place for the Trojans.
“The boys were in a nice pack. That’s what we’re shooting for all year long, and so far all our meets have been like this,” Rettinger said. “This one’s actually about 84 seconds from the first to the fifth, and Saturday we were about 30 seconds apart, but the difference was Bryce Wanemacher ran like 45 seconds better than he did the other day. That’s a good thing. Hopefully he’ll start pulling other people with him.
“They run really well, push each other every night at practice. They don’t complain; they do everything I ask them to do. I just need to start asking them to do more.”
Bremen’s boys team may not have been able to field a full squad at the meet, but Kris Wickens’ top finish in 17:50 made for a nice consolation prize. He outpaced Wanemacher by nearly 40 seconds on his way to breaking the tape in the boys race.
Wickens was followed by Bryan Starcevich in fourth, Cole Spaid in 11th and Luke Snyder in 15th.
“The boys, we really just told them to worry about dropping times and pushing each other, and obviously don’t worry about the team score because it’s not going to make a difference. So they’ve really been focusing on just making their own race better,” Eakins said. “Kris has been a really good leader as far as running fast but also as a captain and getting the team riled up and ready to run.”
Meanwhile for LaVille Tuesday, Rachel Rock broke into the top 10 in the girls race in 26:14, while Berkley Bollinger was 14th, and Cassie Zartman, Emily Kinney and Whitney Brown crossed the line in order in 17th through 19th. For the boys, Robert Morrical was eighth in a team-best 20:35, Michael Minarik and Brandon Styres were ninth and 10th, Jay R. Tolbert was 13th, and Isaac Godshock was 14th.
• BREMEN 15,
Top 10: Brooke Bahr (B) 21:53, 2. Bri Andrews (B) 23:06, 3. Allison Cullers (B) 23:18, 4. Ellen Fox (B) 23:57, 5. Maddy Coffel (B) 24:21, 6. Kayleigh Craig (T) 25:04, 7. Taylor Hatfield (T) 25:25, 8. Andrea Strehler (B) 25:58, 9. Makayla Musilli (T) 26:06, 10. Rachel Rock (L) 26:14.
Top 10: 1. Kris Wickens (B) 17:50, 2. Bryce Wanemacher (T) 18:31, 3. Derek Johnston (T) 18:50, 4. Bryan Starcevich (B) 19:19, 5. Cordell Sherow (T) 19:20, 6. Landon Kaufman (T) 19:45, 7. Bailey Watkins (T) 19:55, 8. Robert Morrical (L) 20:35, 9. Michael Minarik (L) 21:03, 10. Brandon Styres (L) 21:33.