HEBRON, Ohio — And they still have two years left.
Eastern sophomore Jessica Cook and Southern sophomore Conner Wolfe finished 43rd and 52nd respectively at the OHSAA Division III State Cross Country meet, on Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Licking County.
Cook, who also qualified for the state meet as a freshman, posted a time of 19:55.5 in the girls’ competition, including a 5:44.4 opening mile.
“I think I could have done better,” said Jessica. “I went out way too fast, normally Laura (Pullins) paces me at the beginning, and I didn’t have her. My team pushes me most of the season, I’ll have them all back next year so hopefully that will help me.”
Cook was 12th after the opening mile, just 7.2 seconds off the pace, but she fell to 31st at the two-mile mark and was a full minute behind the leader.
“I thought that she did alright, but she went out a little too quick,” Eastern coach Josh Fogle said. “We talked before the race about where she had to be at the mile mark, and her first mile was a little quick. She still broke 20 minutes which, on that course, isn’t a bad time at all.”
Jessica joins 2015 EHS graduate Asia Michael as the only Lady Eagles to make it to the state cross country meet twice and as the only Lady Eagles to make the state as individuals. Micahel also finished 43rd when she qualified as an individual in 2013.
The Division III girls team competition was won by St. Thomas Aquinas with a score of 69, followed by Minster with an 87. St. Thomas Aquinas senior Athena Welsh led the field of 144 with a time of 17:58.6, followed by junior teammate Kalee Soehnlen (18:10.0).
Wolfe, a first-time state qualifier, finished with a time of 16:55.2, just 1:36.3 off the pace in the boys’ race.
“I think I did fine, but I wish I could have ran a lot faster,” Conner said. “I was really nervous all day, I stared to get sick before the race, but afterwards I was fine. My first mile was fine, my second mile was a little to slow, and my third mile was just normal.”
Wolfe’s opening mile was ran in 5:10.4, which placed him 64th. He then moved up to 52nd after a 5:33.2 second mile.
“Conner ran a great race, I am very proud of him” said Tornadoes coach Joe Cornell. “He trained hard all season long and it is nice to see all that hard work pay off for such a great young man. I look forward to seeing him compete at that level hopefully as a junior and senior.”
Conner joins his older brother Kody Wolfe, a three-time state qualifier and two-time All-Ohioan who currently is a junior on the Ohio University men’s cross country team, as the lone state cross country qualifiers from Southern. Like Conner, Kody’s first trip to the OHSAA state meet came as a sophomore.
Maplewood won the Division III boys team competition with a score of 61, followed by St. Thomas Aquinas with an 87. Tristan Dahmen, a senior at Maplewood, paced the field of 156 with a time of 15:18.8, while Antwerp senior Sam Williamson (15:36.7) was second.
Complete results of the 2015 OHSAA Division III State Cross Country meet can be found on the web at www.ohsaa.org
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.