Third-place Granville not slowed by muddy course

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Steve Black­ledge sblack­ledge@dis­patch. @Black­iePreps

KIRKERSVILLE — The post­pone­ment of the state cross coun­try meet from Nov. 3 to Satur­day be­cause of a flooded course at Na­tional Trail Race­way had dif­fer­ent ef­fects on teams and in­di­vid­u­als alike.

Granville's girls ap­par­ently were ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the week off and the muddy course con­di­tions, tak­ing third in the Divi­sion I team race with 142 points. Beaver­creek (118) won and four-time de­fend­ing cham­pion Cen­ter­ville (141) edged Granville for the run­ner-up tro­phy.

"I guess you could say we're mud­ders," Granville coach Bart Smith said. "We re­ally felt good about the con­di­tions of the course. We run a lot of places that re­sem­ble what it was out there to­day, which was sloppy, es­pe­cially af­ter hav­ing five races go off be­fore us. Plus, the week off Gra­cie Spran­kle of Olen­tangy Lib­erty makes a fi­nal push to place sixth, the top area fin­isher in Divi­sion I, in the state cross coun­try meet at Na­tional Trail Race­way. al­lowed us an ex­tra week of train­ing to fine-tune things."

Led by Reilly Zink (20th in 18:57.9), Granville had only a 54-sec­ond gap be­tween its first and fifth scorers.

"We came in hop­ing to get in the top five, and we did ex­actly what we needed to do," Smith said. Granville took eighth in 2017.

Zink said the Blue Aces didn't point to­ward a spe­cific goal.

"It's not about the prize but the process,

and we pointed to be­ing our best this week and we re­sponded," she said.

Con­sid­ered a top con­tender, Hil­liard David­son fin­ished sev­enth with 229 points.

For the sec­ond straight year, Gra­cie Spran­kle of Olen­tangy Lib­erty led area in­di­vid­u­als, plac­ing sixth in 18:17.8. The In­di­ana signee was fourth in 2017 and 14th in 2016.

"I came in hop­ing for top three, but the front pack went out re­ally fast and it was hard to make up ground with the foot­ing be­ing as bad as it was," Spran­kle said. "It was re­ally fun get­ting to ex­pe­ri­ence this with my team, though."

Eight area run­ners cracked the top 30 for All-Ohio honors. Lind­say Stull of Hil­liard David­son (ninth, 18:39.7) and Heidi Heuer­man of Up­per Ar­ling­ton (14th, 18:51.2) and Daniella San­tos of Hil­liard Darby (18th, 18:56.8) headed that group.

Lex­ing­ton cruised to its third Divi­sion II ti­tle in four years with 72 points. Tenth-place Fair­field Union (262) led the area con­tin­gent.

Mad­die Davis of Jonathan Alder was the top area in­di­vid­ual, plac­ing 11th (19:19.6).

In Divi­sion III, Min­ster rolled to its third con­sec­u­tive and record 12th ti­tle with 46 points. Cen­ter­burg (233), Mount Gilead (233) and Fred­er­ick­town (257) took eighth, ninth and 10th, re­spec­tively.

Baylee Hack of Mount Gilead fol­lowed up a third-place fin­ish in 2017 with a fifth-place (19:17.6) to lead Cen­tral Dis­trict qual­i­fiers. She was side-by-side with team­mate Al­li­son John­son in third place un­til the fi­nal 1,000 me­ters, but John­son fell off and wound up 13th (19:47.1). It was the only time Hack had beaten John­son all sea­son.

The in­di­vid­ual cham­pi­ons were Tay­lor Ewart of Beaver­creek (17:38.7) in Divi­sion I, Ella Gil­son of Gates Mills Hawken (18:37.4) in Divi­sion II and Mi­randa Stanhope of Kins­man Badger (18:51.6) in Divi­sion III.

HULKENBERG/ THISWEEK NEWS­PA­PERS] [JOHN

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