That went not just for St. Paul’s Noah Avendano — but also everyone else at the state cross country championships held at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
The course was still very wet after being delayed by one week because of heavy rainfall on from Oct. 31-Nov. 2. But add in the temperature drop below freezing, and everything about the conditions were less than ideal.
“After running the course on Friday and knowing it’s condition, I wasn’t expecting a PR (personal record),” Avendano said. “I was mostly running for place.”
Avendano finished Saturday’s Division III boys race in a time of 17:13.2 — good enough for 25th place overall out of 181 runners.
That earned him All-Ohio honors, one of five area runners to finish with all-state recognition on Saturday.
“The performance was about what I wanted for place, but my time was a little slow,” Avendano said. “I’m very happy to have been 25th and achieve what I had set out to do.
“The cold just added to the memorable experience,” he added. “I’d like to thank my friends, family and coaches who supported me. I couldn’t have done it without their help.”
Also in Div. III boys, the New London boys team continued its season-long pack mentality — and saw what potential could like ahead. The Wildcats placed seventh as a team with 189 points, and were just six points away from sixth place.
The ‘Cats were also just 62 points shy from state champion Ft. Loramie — which may look like a bigger margin than it really is.
“I have never seen it that tight at a state meet,” New London coach Keith Landis said. “I’m sure the boys were hoping for higher. I don’t know that anyone was disappointed, but they kind of had their eyes on the top and to get as close as they could — and today 62 points was as close as we could.
“But that’s not that far away in a meet like that,” he added. “You’re talking four or five seconds per runner, and that’s a lot of numbers in a tightly-packed race.”
Carson Coey was All-Ohio for New London, placing just behind Avendano in 26th in a time of 17:13.9. Dominic Albaugh was 32nd for New London in 17:21.7, while Curtis Joppeck was 65th (17:43.1).
Rounding out the New London lineup was Tyler Twining (84th, 17:54.3), Cole Kropka (95th, 18:02.7), Caleb Good (116th, 18:13.9) and Mitchell Joppeck (117th, 18:13.9).
“The conditions were less than adequate and the guys handled it really well,” Landis said. “We beat all the teams from our region again, so you always want to hold serve. We ran a pretty sharp race.”
New London’s all-underclassmen lineup will return next year following a top 10 finish on Saturday.
“They knew that there was no clear cut favorite this year, but the guys know how old they are and how old everyone else is, too,” Landis said. “So it will be my job to remind them nothing is given, it’s all earned.
“But at the same time, they should be dreaming after that as the end goal,” he added. “You always hope to be the team at the top. They feel we have as good of a chance as anyone in the future.”
New London girls place 14th
HEBRON — In the Div. III girls race, New London placed 14th out of 20 teams with 340 points.
Gabrielle Osterland (20:31.6) and Kaylin Williams (20:54.7) paced the ‘Cats in 39th and 58th, respectively.
Savannah Shaver was 124th (22:22.3), followed by Dana Gustely (132nd, 22:32.6), Abigail Good (144th, 22:54.6), Grace Crawshaw (157th, 23:35) and Esther Schmidt (162nd, 23:50.6).
“The girls ran really well,” Landis said. “Gabby stepped up to lead us one more time as she has all year. She was hoping for more, but in these conditions … the kid who won Div. III boys was almost 30 seconds faster at Tiffin (regionals) than he did on Saturday — and he was the state champion. The times were certainly affected by the conditions.
“The girls ran past some teams from the regional, so it was a good day on the last day,” he added. “Dana raced like a senior in her last meet at state should. It was an exciting race, and once again we had great support from the New London faithful.”