Lebanon freshman falls at start, finishes strong in 33rd

COLUMBUS — Jacquelyn Crow’s first experience at the Division I state cross country meet was a harrowing one.

Blood ran down the left shin of the Lebanon High School freshman, the result of a fall Crow suffered going into the first turn on the Scioto Downs course. But Crow survived the fall and worked her way through the pack of 146 runners to finish 33rd, eight spots short of All-Ohio distinction, with a time of 18 minutes, 56.4 seconds. The top 25 finishers were named All-Ohio.

“It was pretty intense out there and the pack was moving really fast,” Crow said. “I hit a barrel going into the first turn and then tripped over someone’s feet and fell. I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to get up. I’m behind now,’ but I just had to work through it and do the best that I could.”

Crow picked up 10 to 15 spots over the final mile, running through the section in the North Paddock.

“That part had some steep hills, and we’ve worked on hills all year,” Crow said. “That helped me. I was able to pick off some runners one at a time and improve my position.

“I had a lot of fun out there. I was nervous at first, but it was a good first experience at state.”

Crow’s time was the first sub-19 minute race run by a Lebanon girl at the state meet and just two seconds shy of her own school record.

“I’m extremely proud of Jacquelyn,” Lebanon cross country coach Tom Hoeffel said. “I was impressed with her toughness. That was a good race she ran, especially considering that she fell down near the start.”

Hamilton ends career as runner-up

Springboro’s Carly Hamilton managed to avoid the hazards provided by the early jostling by sprinting to the front out of the gate. She carried that momentum to a runner-up finish, taking second in a time of 17:53.1. Glen Este’s Michelle Thomas won the D-I girls state title in 17:41.5.

“This is my best finish ever at state, so I’m pretty excited about it,” Hamilton said. “It’s definitely good to go out on a good note.

“It was really intense out there and pretty easy to get boxed in at the start. It got a little physical — I hit one girl pretty hard by accident and had to apologize. You try not to do that but everybody’s going out so hard, it’s tough to get out to the front.”

Hamilton led a Panthers team that finished sixth overall with 176 points. Rocky River Magnificat won its third straight team title with 107 points while Mason was runner-up with 154.

Rachel Mahle was Springboro’s second runner to cross the finish line, 39th with a time of 19:01.9. The Panthers’ other scorers were Alex Mahle, Lycia Hollon and Heather Baruxes.

Ruppert runs 30th in boys Division II race

In Division II boys action, Franklin High School sophomore Jeremy Ruppert was another near-miss for All-Ohio honors when he finished 30th with a time of 16:37.3

“I’m a little disappointed because I was aiming for a top-20 finish, but it’s my first state meet so I can’t be too upset,” Ruppert said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. It was fast and loud and a little intimidating at the start.

“But I settled in at about the mile mark, that’s when I started to get a good pace. This was a really cool experience, and I hope it helps me when I get back here next year.”

Ruppert was the first Franklin boy in 32 years to compete at the state cross country meet.

Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4526 or shayes@coxohio.com.