Rockets, 2 other CC teams going to state
McDonald and Poland teams set
By Greg Gulas
The Maplewood boys won the Division III regional cross country championship Saturday at Boardman High School to earn a trip to state.
Also qualifying were the Poland boys team, McDonald girls teams and 11 individual runners. They’ll race on Saturday at Hebron’s National Trail Raceway.
McDonald was the only area girls team from the area to punch a state ticket, finishing fourth (97 points) and 48 points behind champion St. Thomas Aquinas in Division III.
For Division III boys, the Rockets (62 points) finished ahead of Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (72) for top honors.
In Division II, the Poland biys team was the sixth and final qualifier (207), 20 points ahead of Notre Dame Cathedral Latin High School.
The Rockets’ Nick Cowger (16:50.9) was the top area finisher, placing third in Division III while Palmer Cameron (17:12.27) of Mineral Ridge was ninth, Kenny Wallace (17:26.77) of Mathews placed 15th and Maplewood’s Mike Shipman (17:28.47) rounded out the top 16.
The Rockets are the two-time defending and seven-time state champions (2015, 2014, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1997 and 1972). Maplewood head coach Dave Deeter was pleased with the weather and the course.
“The race was a normal pace for regional rights,” Deeter said. “The stakes are higher here so obviously everybody’s going out a little quicker and gutting out the middle of the race.”
He lauded Cowger for his effort.
“This race last year as a junior was his breakout race,” Deeter said. “I could see things in workouts last year a couple weeks beforehand, so he obviously loves this course and loves this race.
“He’s running with a ton of confidence right now and he’s gutsy.”
Woodridge won the Division II boys crown with Poland’s Andrew Comstock (18:01.25) the highest area finisher at 43rd.
The Solon boys captured top honors in Division I as Boardman’s Chris Butler (16:24.27) finished ninth as the area’s top qualifier.
Also qualifying for state were Canfield’s Giovanni Copploe (16:38.10) at 17th and Howland’s Vincent Mauri (16:40.48) in 21st.
“It was a really hard race but this is known to be a hard race,” Butler said. “I could see how it was tough for everyone else, but this is the home course for me so I knew what I was doing.
“I know where to slow down, where to speed up and things like that.”
McDonald’s girls finished fourth in Division III and just 24 points off the pace of third-place Berkshire.
Western Reserve's Ashley Rowley (19:28.3) finished second among individuals, trailing only Grand Valley's Grace Steimle (19:20.92).
The Blue Devils’ Miranda Guerra, a freshman, was seventh (20:19.30) while Badger’s Miranda Stanhope (20:16.38) was the area’s top qualifier, finishing fifth.
Stanhope is also a freshman.