Hartman helps Rockets get back
to state after team missed in ’11
By Joe Scalzo
It’s a Maplewood tradition for runners to bleach their hair platinum blonde for the regional cross country meet, but senior Wyatt Hartman’s jet black hair didn’t quite cooperate.
Instead it looked ... well, golden.
Kind of like his medal.
Two years after being the Rockets’ only state qualifier, Hartman placed seventh overall at Saturday’s meet to help the state’s top-ranked team edge last year’s state champion, McDonald, for their first regional crown since 2005.
“I would much rather go as a team,” said Hartman. “There’s something about being surrounded by your best friends, knowing you’ve all worked together and pushed toward that goal.”
Maplewood placed ninth at the 2010 regional, the first time in 20 years it failed to advance to the state meet. The three underclassmen from that team — Hartman, Solomon Yoder and Mike Dahmen — all finished in the top 40 on Saturday.
“I think that [failure to qualify] is a huge reason why we’re where we are right now,” said head coach Dave Deeter, whose team was sixth at the 2011 state meet. “They felt what it felt like to not hit the goal they wanted and they’re not going to let that happen again.”
Bobby Johnson and Patrick Kunkel finished 3-4 for McDonald, which scored 83 points to Maplewood’s 72. The Blue Devils have qualified for the state meet every year since 1999.
In Division II, West Branch senior Drake Lohnes outsprinted East Liverpool senior Nate Boyer for the individual title, finishing in 16:37.97 — four-hundredths of a second faster than Boyer.
“In my mind I was thinking, ‘Ooooh, whatever I have to do, I just gotta go,’ ” said Lohnes, the first regional boys champion in school history. “I knew I could have finished anywhere from first to fourth. Today, I was fortunate enough to give myself a chance for first.”
No area teams advanced as Lakeview finished fifth, missing a state qualifying spot by three points.
In Division I, Chardon junior Nick Elswick won the individual title in 15:47.22 to edge Boardman junior Mark Hadley by four-tenths of a second.
Hadley’s teammate, junior Alan Burns, placed 10th — the top 16 individuals advance — but the Spartans missed fourth place by four points. Boardman was aiming for its first state berth since 1990.
On the girls side, Poland earned its second straight Division II state berth by placing second to Chagrin Falls, 93-86. Seniors Libby Rogenski and McKinsie Klim finished second and third, respectively, while Michelle Klim was eighth.
“They’ve been working since I think Nov. 6 last year to get back this year and try to do even better,” said Bulldogs coach Kim Grisdale, whose team placed sixth in the state on Nov. 5, 2011. “All year the girls have been saying ‘podium’ and you have to be in the top two to get to the podium, so that’s something we’re thinking about.”
McDonald’s girls placed third in Division III to earn their fourth straight state berth, but coach Michael Richards admitted he was hoping for the regional runner-up trophy.
“We made it to Columbus and that’s the key, but we’ve been living all year by this phrase: ‘Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best,’ ” he said. “That’s what I kept telling the girls, to put out their best today and next week.”
South Range’s girls placed fifth, missing a state berth by 10 points.