To give his team an idea of what to expect at the Division I district cross country meet, Talawanda High School coach Paul Stiver ran a simulation race on his computer.
The Braves girls finished fifth in the simulation. On Saturday they gave those results a reboot.
Talawanda’s girls captured their first district title since the 1980s with a stellar effort on the 3.1-mile Elvin R. King Course at Cedarville University on Saturday. The district meet combines two races into one, meaning the top two teams and top two individuals in each race earn district champion honors.
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Beavercreek, the defending D-I state champs, finished first overall with 47 points. Talawanda scored 73 to edge Springboro’s 77.
“We were really excited but we were also really nervous,” said Talawanda junior Maddy Iden, who finished 11th overall in 19:07.58. “We’ve been working so hard for this moment. It’s so nice to see it finally pay off. Our girls ran really good today.”
Talawanda’s boys, meanwhile, finished ninth overall to grab the final qualifying spot for next week’s regional meet in Troy. It’s the first regional appearance for the boys since 1985.
The top five girls teams advance to the state championships. Talawanda is ranked No. 13 in the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches. Five teams ranked above them will run at Saturday’s regional meet in Troy – No. 1 Beavercreek, No. 3 Lakota East, No. 5 Mason, No. 8 Loveland and No. 9 Springboro. A sixth, No. 4 Centerville, failed to qualify for regional.
“There are a lot of good teams in our regional,” Stiver said. “So many ranked teams in the state. We’re probably the seventh or eighth team … but you never know. That’s why you run the race instead of doing it by the polls.”
Sophomore Hannah Lippincott led the Braves on Saturday, finishing 10th overall in 19:03.45. Joining Lippincott and Iden on the district title team were junior Libby Farmer (15th, 19:39.38), freshman Lilly Iden (18th, 19:46.57), sophomore Eva Motta (19th, 19:47.15), freshman Kylee Carver (49th, 20:54.52) and senior Abigail Bahlou (59th, 21:12.14).
Lilly Iden and Motta both shattered their personal bests Saturday. Iden lowered hers by about 35 seconds and Motta by 20 seconds.
“That was the key right there, our No. 4 and No. 5 getting under 20 minutes and moving up,” Stiver said.
Talawanda’s girls have qualified for state twice in program history (1985 and 1988).
“We’re really hoping we can make it to state,” Maddy Iden said. “It’s such a hard and competitive region. It’s going to take a lot of work and hopefully our training pays off.”
For the Braves boys, sophomore Kiefer Bell led the team with fifth place in 16:04.19. He was followed by sophomore Logan Murray (23rd, 16:43.90), junior Jens Bartel (87th, 16:46.90), freshman Eliot Berberich (87th, 17:57.23), senior Benjamin Farmer (90th, 18:00.36), junior Daniel Sawdai (91st, 18:00.37) and senior Quinn Kissell (98th, 18:09.37).
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