Bryan Hudnell | Staff Writer
After both finishing 1st in Districts and 4th in Regionals, The Mason Boys and Girls Cross Country Team competed for the state championship November 5 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio.
The girls placed fifth in the state, adding another top five state finish to their already impressive resumé. Head coach Chip Dobson said their strategy was to start fast and sustain the pace all the way through the finish.
“We had a strategy of getting out pretty hard and holding your spot,” Dobson said. “We came out hard and had the lead at the mile, third at the two mile, and slipped to fifth at the end.”
Senior Ellie Brush capped her brilliant career with an 11th place finish and sophomore Lily Hallum came in 37th to help contribute to the Comets top five finish. Dobson said his team did a good job executing the plan in place for them.
“They followed the plan to the best of their ability and did a nice job,” Dobson said. “I thought they competed really well, there was a lot of personal best times, I was encouraged.”
Brush competed at state all of four years of her high school career. Her time of 18:08 was a personal best by 36 seconds. Brush said that she was thrilled that all of her hard work and preparation paid off.
“State has a lot of fast runners,” Brush said. “I’ve always ran around the same place here so I really wanted to do better and improve. It felt good because It showed that all of my hard work payed off this season and that I’ve improved over the past 4 years.”
The Comets performed well above their ninth place ranking. Brush said she was proud of her team for performing above expectations.
“Going into it, we were ranked ninth (in the State) because we’ve had a lot of injuries and ups and downs this season,” Brush said. “I’m pretty proud of our team for coming together and getting top five in State.”
Dobson said Brush played a major role in the team’s strong finish.
“She’s huge,” Dobson said. “It’s always good to have that low scorer and she really stepped up today. She’s had bumps here and there, aches and pains, but she got through those things and did a great job today.”
Brush wasn’t the only runner who performed well. Dobson said the team as a whole has a lot to be proud of.
“I told them that it was a positive day,” Dobson said. “They have a lot of things to feel good about. We competed, got out hard, and did a lot of good things today.”
With five senior runners running in the meet, Dobson believed his team’s experience showed and said it will be a clean slate moving on to next year.
“This is the first time I put five out of seven seniors on the line for a state meet, so there was a lot of experience,” Dobson said. “It’ll be a fresh start next year when we’ll have to replace them.”
With a 14th overall finish, the boys team experienced their lowest finish at the state meet in the school’s history. Boys head coach Tom Rapp said his team didn’t have any excuses all year and the State meet would be no different.
“We didn’t use the injuries as an excuse this year and it wasn’t something we talked about at all,” Rapp said. “If someone went down then the next guy needs to step up and take us forward. I felt like the guys we had here battled hard, knowing that maybe they won’t be the best team we’ve ever had here at Mason, but they still kept fighting.”
The boys’ best finisher was junior Michael Uematsu who placed 58th with a time of 16:12. Senior Mikey Loehr wasn’t too far behind with a time of 16:22. Loher echoed Rapp and said that the team battled injuries and fought through adversity throughout the season.
“The team has a bunch of fighters, Loher said. “We persevered through a lot stuff this season. We lost a lot of people had to fill other people in. Our motto is always next man up. Mason always has a lot of depth and it was tough to fill up all of the holes obviously but I thought we did the best we could.”
Rapp addressed his team after the finish and said to his team that it is an outstanding achievement just to get to state and to not let Mason’s past experiences dictate success.
“It’s an honor to run (at State),” Rapp said. There are over a hundred teams that aren’t here so we need to keep that in perspective. Once you win or get runner up a couple times, it kind of spoils you thinking that you should be there every year. While we aim to shoot that high, it’s doesn’t always workout that way. A lot of things have to fall into place for you to place high.”
As seen in Volume 14, Issue 3 of The Chronicle.
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