Lakota West junior tumbles from front of the pack, finishes in 55th

COLUMBUS — The Division I state cross country meet was one race Lakota West High School junior Amanda Shelby would just as soon forget.

Shelby was running near the front of the pack heading into the first turn at the Scioto Downs 3.2-mile course on Saturday when the runner in front of her — Lebanon freshman Jacquelyn Crow — fell down. Shelby tripped over the fallen Crow and thoughts of a top-25 finish and All-Ohio status suddenly vanished.

Survival became the primary concern, as the pack of 146 runners thundered past.

“It was scary,” Shelby said. “I was just hoping I didn’t get trampled.

“That definitely threw me off of my race. It took a lot out of me to get back into it and run my way back into a good position.”

Shelby rebounded well — she finished 55th overall in a time of 19 minutes, 7.4 seconds.

“I was able to run a lot of girls down at the end but I still wish I had kicked a little harder,” Shelby said.

Lakota East sophomore Kelly Burrows had a rosier recollection of the race. Burrows finished 36th overall with a time of 18:58.7.

“It was fast and it was tiring but it was a lot of fun,” Burrows said. “I wanted to be in the top 25, but it was a really fast race and there were a lot of talented runners out there so I’m happy with it.

“It was a very physical race. Everybody was fighting for spots, fighting to get ahead. It was really intense. I want to come back again next year, it was so much fun.”

In Division I boys action, Lakota West senior J.J. Weber closed out his cross country career with a 64th place finish, crossing the finish line in 16:23.0.

“I got off to a good start and just hung on until the end,” Weber said. “The state meet is always tough because the competition is fantastic and everybody goes out fast and it’s like running in a box when you go into that first turn.

“It’s always the most fun race of the year. It’s a nice way to go out as a senior.”

Cincinnati Christian’s Lindsey Mead also was running her last race and she wore 12 temporary tattoos — six down each arm - to commemorate it.

“I’ve been collecting these for four years — coach gives them to us for certain accomplishments throughout the seasons — and I figured what better place to wear them than at state,” Mead said. “I’ve been aiming for this for four years and thank God, I finally made it.”

Mead finished 35th in the girls Division III race in 19:47.4.

“It was over before I knew it,” Mead said. “The start was so fast and then the first mile was over, and next thing I knew we were running the hills heading into the last mile. It was just an incredible experience.”

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