By Dan Woodlock
Times-Junction Sports Editor
Despite the solid competition, the 47 other schools in the Division II races were likely not as tough for Willard to beat than the heat was at Saturday’s Galion Cross Country Festival.
Fueled by a pair of pack splits that stood at 1:41.6 and 1:53.8, the Willard boys and girls teams dashed their way to 16th and 10th place, respectively, at Amanns Park.
Blake Smith and Justin Gillmor again led the WHS boys effort, as the Flashes posted a team score of 463. Smith was the lone Willard runner to post a time in the 17-minute range (17:29.7) amidst the warm temperatures on the day. He was 44th overall, with Gillmor tallying an 86th place time of 18:24.
They were followed by Zack Keaton (18:35.2), Nate Cofer (19:04.5) and Trent Rupert (19:11.3) in 95th, 117th and 121st place. Ethan Slone and Landon Schaffer also ran the varsity race for WHS and put together respective times of 19:22.7 and 19:32.9--good for the 129th and 138th spots in the Boys Division II race.
Rocky River came away with the boys team title, with 83 points. Heath was second at 117 and Bay held off Shelby, 131-133, and pulled out third place accolades. A total of 27 schools raced in the D-II boys race.
Willard’s 21-and-under girls trio of Emily Rothhaar, Morgan Adams and Jillian Schloemer, again led the brigade for the Lady Flashes, as all three placed in the top-50 for WHS.
Rothhaar claimed 26th place with a run of 21:05.1 to pace Willard in their 10th place showing of 257 points (nine better than SBC rival Edison’s 266).
Adams and Schloemer were separated by less than one second in the 46th and 47th positions, as Adams crossed in 21:43.5 and Schloemer checked in at 21:44.2.
Willard landed all five scoring runners in the top-80, as Amy Del Angel was 68th (22:36.7), followed by Alyssa Strayer in 78th (22:58.9).
Taking 104th was Felicia Rosvanis at 23:55.5, while Maddie Osborne produced a 122nd place time of 24:54.4.
Fairfield Union nipped Buckeye Valley, 110-112, to win the girls D-II race championship. Jonathan Alder and Dover were not far behind in third and fourth at 122 and 124 points, respectively.
Juan Figueroa (19:30.6) ran his way to 60th place for the WHS boys in the D-II and III Open Race. Nick Bauer was 172nd at 20:52.9, with Josh Haynes (21:27.7), Aaron Stephens (21:39) and Eli Jaramillo (21:59.7) manning 222nd, 233rd and 270th place.
Gavin Buurma’s time of 22:39.4 was good for 297th, while Josh Schiffel (23:57.7) and Seth Foresmen (24:14.9) took 346th and 354th overall.
The Flashes finished 21st overall with 605 points in the Open Race.
Willard’s open girls were paced by Araceli Huerta’s run of 24:41.8, which placed her 72nd. Next for the Lady Flashes, who were 23rd in the D-II and III girls Open Race at 602 points, was Zoey Hartz (26:31.5) in 162nd. Jacklyn Harris and Sami Bauer finished within 14 seconds of each other, with Harris coming across at 28:08.3 for 223rd place and Bauer landing 230th (28:22.3).
Rounding out the run for the WHS open girls were Debbie Vazquez in 281st place (30:31.3), Olivia Lowery in 303rd (31:36.8) and Regan Hartz in 331st (34:59.8).