The Avon Lake High School boy’s cross country team allowed themselves a slight smile as they left Tiffin this past weekend.
The packed 45th annual Tiffin Distance Carnival, one of the largest high school cross county races in the United States hosted 6,900 runners on Saturday and provided a solid indication that Avon Lake’s runners are top talent.
The Shoremen finished in 8th place as a team in Division I “A”, the Carnival’s toughest division of 41 teams.
Despite being unranked in the latest state poll, the Avon Lake boys team finished ahead of No. 10 St. Ignatius, No. 18 Toledo St. Francis DeSales, No. 19 Medina and No. 21 Kings.
The No. 1 ranked team in the state, Cincinnati Xavier, won the team trophy.
"We took a big step towards our team goals,” Avon Lake coach Rob Juergens said. “Overall a great day."
Avon Lake Senior Tim Villari led the Shoremen and finished 18th overall in the big race with a time of 16:17:37. Senior Ian Korney (16:42:04), senior Devin Arora (17:05:89), senior James Darkow (17:20:52), junior Trent Glasser (17:36:72), senior Riley Jantz (18:16:13) and junior Chip Connelly (18:26:22) made up the varsity team.
In the Boy’s Open division, Shoremen senior Jared Shelar finished 28th out of 684 runners with a time of 18:32:65. The Avon Lake Boy’s Open team finished 9th overall.
The Avon Lake Girl’s varsity team split their team into two different races at Tiffin.
Senior Shoregal Marisa Gerrone led the way for Avon Lake with a time of 21:01:40 and finished 71st overall out of 231 runners in Division I “A”. Gerrone was followed by sophomore Audrey Spensley (22:37:76), junior Charlotte Ward (22:43:42), sophomore Julia Jantz (22:56:94), junior Katie Faber (23:31:04), sophomore Allie Spensley (23:36:19), junior Abbey Francy (24:39:82), Senior Caroline Popiel (24:44:12), Junior Ashley Mandel (24:48:38) and Sophomore Mary McGrail (24:48:50),
The girls cross country coach, Becky Uszak, said her team was young.
“Our senior captains Jessica Lambert, Marisa Gerrone and Caroline Popiel have done a great job leading our young team this season,” UsZac said. “All three have run in varsity meets with Marisa being our no. runner this season with a PR at Tiffin of 21:01.”
Uszak said the team still has work to do, but was optimistic.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to achieve the team and individual goals all the girls have set but I believe with dedication, commitment and hard work by October they will have the opportunity to achieve the team and their individual goals,” she said.