Mud slows runners in Austintown
Millison, Stanich win at muddy Township Park
By BOB ETTINGER
It certainly isn’t uncommon for a cross-country runner to start out a little slower and pick up ground later. It’s definitely a strategy for many runners. South Range’s Nick Millison understood quite well that plan of attack was going to work in the Suburban League Meet on the muddy course at Austintown Township Park on Tuesday.
“I just tried to stay with the front pack that first mile, mile and a half,” Millison said. ”I wanted to stay in front, let them lead the race and don’t go out and try to kill myself. I felt them tire out and I tried to take the lead and separate myself the rest of the race.”
Millison claimed the win with that understanding.
“Honestly, that’s just the strategy almost every race, but the muddy course did play a factor,” he said. “If you lost ground early, you wouldn’t have made it up because you weren’t going to be able to kick your legs.”
In the girls race, Poland’s Gianna Stanich found herself in front at the finish line despite using the meet as just a glorified practice.
“We were just doing a workout today,” Stanich said. “We wanted to run the first mile at race pace, run tempo the second mile and race pace again in the third mile. I wasn’t as fast as normal because of all the mud and there were a lot of puddles.”
Though her instructions were clear, it was difficult for Stanich to not allow the competitor out.
“It’s really hard to stay behind other runners,” Stanich said. “You want to go faster. It’s hard because you want to make yourself pass them when you’re behind. I was surprised [to win] because I thought the other girls went out way ahead.”
Lane Goble of Howland ran second to Millison.
“I think the strongest part of my race was up the hills,” Goble said. “I like to attack them, speed up. It makes me feel better, feel quicker. Also, the people around me see me do that, and they don’t see other people do it, and it gives me more ground. By the end [of the hill], I’ve gained maybe 10 feet I didn’t have before.”
Luke Brown of South Range was third and William Eisen of Howland placed fourth. The remainder of the top 10 included Geno Gallo of Poland in fifth, Brady Rupe of McDonald in sixth, Brady Gall of Poland in seventh, Eli Street of McDonald in eighth, Hunter Omerzo of Maplewood in ninth and Jet Bailey of Poland in 10th.
Jessica Wilk of Lordstown was a close second to Stanich with a trio of Boardman runners — Alayna Cuevas (third), Sophia McGee (fourth) and Julia Gorby (fifth) — just behind her.
“I got my PR on Saturday and that was definitely a better first mile for me [than today],” Wilk said. “I wasn’t feeling as good today. I’m pretty pleased with any time I get that’s under 21 [minutes]. It was definitely mile three when I slowed down.”
The remainder of the top 10 included Kristin Yeager of Austintown Fitch in sixth and McDonald’s Sela Jones, Anna Guerra and Bella Wolford in seventh, eighth and ninth places, respectively. Gretchen George of Fitch was 10th.
Howland claimed the team win in the boys competition with 55 points.
Maplewood was second with 61 points, McDonald was third with 78, South Range placed fourth with 97 and Poland rounded out the top five with 106.
Boardman took home the win on the girls side with 39 points.
Howland was the runner-up with 74 points, McDonald a close third with 76, Fitch was fourth with 122 and Lakeview came home fifth with 124.