By TIM CLEVELAND
Jordan Grantonic has been the leader of the Boardman girls cross country team the whole season. Saturday was no exception.
Grantonic ran 19:10.18 to finish fourth in the Division I district meet at Trumbull County Fairgrounds. Her performance helped power the Spartans to the team title with 75 points, 15 clear of runnerup Chardon. Boardman was the only local girls team to advance to regionals in Division I.
“I was very happy with their performance,” Boardman coach Stacey Hunter said. “I think I had five in the top 25. I’m just so proud and excited for them. They’ve been working really hard.
“Regionals is one of those things that anything can happen on any given day. It’s one of those things you get nervous and excited for because you just never know what could happen. We’re prepared.”
Grantonic said she ran well despite being ill earlier in the day.
“Last year was my first year and it was really exciting,” Grantonic said. “I’m trying to make it past regionals this year and go to state.
“My time was pretty good, but I was feeling sick this morning. I don’t know how that played into it. I’ve never really run on this course before.”
Grantonic was asked how she hopes to do at regionals.
“Hopefully 16th or better,” she said.
“She raced well. She ran a smart race; ran her race,” Hunter said. “She paced herself the way she should’ve. She did a nice job qualifying for next week; no complaints.”
The top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to next Saturday’s regional meet at Boardman High School.
Other local girls runners qualifying in Division I were Howland’s Taylor Craigo (ninth, 19:29.09) and Austintown Fitch’s Carissa Jenkins (11th, 19:34.40).
As a team, Fitch was eighth with 170 points. Canfield placed 10th out of 12 teams.
“The girls team didn’t really run our best effort,” Canfield coach Doug Weitzman said. “We lagged at the start and we didn’t get out very well. The effort in the second half of the race was there, but the beginning half of the race we sort of got caught in the back. You can’t afford to do that at this point in the season.”
Despite the finish to the season, Weitzman said he’s encouraged by the talent he’ll have returning in 2014.
“We’ve got five of the seven coming back, and they’re young,” he said. “I feel bad for the two seniors who didn’t make it out. On the plus side, we’ve got all those kids coming back and the effort is there. We just picked a bad day to run a bad race.”
In Division II, Girard’s Domenique Hall finished second in 19:59.75. The Indians were third as a team with 78 points.
“It feels very good,” Hall said. “I worked hard to get this place and hopefully I do good at regionals to make state.
“It’s a very big accomplishment for our team to make it to regionals. We tried very hard this year and practiced hard.”
Poland finished fifth in Division II, with Struthers sixth, Niles placing ninth and Cardinal Mooney 10th.
Gabrielle Chaffin of Niles qualified as an individual, finishing 14th in 21:07.02.
McDonald’s Heidi Hoffman won the Division III title in 19:37.91, while her teammates Rachel Perry (third, 20:10.47), Brenna Rupe (eighth, 20:45.94) and Hannah Lovejoy (ninth, 20:46.89) finished in the top 10. The Blue Devils won the team title by 17 points over Berkshire.
Bristol qualified as a team in fourth place (132 points). Badger (sixth), Mineral Ridge (seventh), Ursuline (10th) and Maplewood (11th) were the other local team finishers.
Locals qualifying as individuals in Division III were Jennilyn Krumpe of Badger (fifth, 20:22.23) and Kate Keleman of Mineral Ridge (15th, 21:18.74.