Talawanda runners advance to state cross country championship race

Two Talawanda High School runners advanced to the state cross country championship race this weekend in a repeat performance of a year ago.

Both the boys’ and girls’ teams competed in the regional races last weekend after their finishes in the district races two weeks ago. They did not advance to the state meet as groups but each team had individuals move on to this weekend.

Senior Kiefer Bell represented the boys’ team yesterday and senior Hannah Lippincott took part in the girls’ state race.

“This marks the third year in a row for Kiefer and the second year in a row for Hannah,” Coach Paul Stiver said. “Last year both were All-State with their top 30 finishes. Kiefer was 20th and Hannah 27th. Kiefer was 43rd his sophomore year.

In last week’s regional race, Bell clocked a time of 16:10.5 to finish second behind a Little Miami runner as Talawanda finished in ninth place as a team with 277 points to winning Mason’s 51 team points.

“The boys team finished in the top 10 for the first time since 1969. Two years ago, many of these same team members were 15th,” Stiver said. “The girls team finished 14th after finishing 10th last year. The girls have had a nice streak of qualifying to the Regional Meet five straight years.”

Lippincott finished 20th in the girls’ race with a time of 19:51.7, leading her team to a 14th-place finish with 369 points. Loveland had the top team score of 69.

“The conditions were incredibly difficult. With a light rain and very muddy conditions, this will be a race the kids will remember for a long time. Two years ago, we had muddy conditions, but this was even worse. It made the footing very unsure and difficult to gain ground throughout the race,” Stiver said. “Kiefer and Hannah put themselves in position early and were able to hold that position throughout.”

Talawanda’s second runner behind Lippincott was freshman Lucia Rodbro, who finished 64th in a time of 21:10.3, while junior Lilly Iden was 93rd with a time of 22:02.1. Kylee Carver, a junior, was in the 112th position with a time of 22:47.6.

The final three runners for the Talawanda girls took places 127 through 129. They were, in order: Senior Alyssa Chaney with a time of 23:22.2; senior Bella Walter, in 23:23.1; and sophomore Molly Van Gorden, in 23:51.9.

On the boys’ side, senior Logan Murray was the second Talawanda finisher behind Bell with a time of 17:55.9, putting him in the 56th position.

The next two Brave finishers completed the course only a half-second apart. Senior Luke West Poley took the 88th spot with a time of 18:23.2 while freshman Bryson Fears turned in a time of 18:23.6 putting him in the 89th position.

Rounding out the Talawanda team scoring were, in order: Junior Eliot Berberich, with a time of 18:48.0 for 110th; sophomore Maddox Burns, 18:53.5 in 115th; and senior Daryl Zazycki, 19:15.0 for 126th place.

“It has been a great season for both our boys and girls teams and now we look forward to seeing Kiefer and Hannah run as individuals at the State Meet,” the coach said earlier this past week. Both races were to be run Saturday afternoon at Fortress Obetz in Obetz.

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