New London boys cross country coach Keith Landis knows what he is going to get every time from his top three runners for the Division III state-ranked Wildcats.
But his next four or five runners have been different throughout the course of the season, and that was no different at Saturday’s Firelands Conference championship race at New London High School.
The ‘Cats again weren’t first or second overall, which is almost always the case. But the pack mentality showed them with five of their seven scoring runners in the top 10 as they scored 31 points to run away from the field for the team title.
Crestview was second with 50 points, followed by Mapleton (86) — which again held out one of the top runners in the state, Drew Roberts. St. Paul (114) was fourth, Plymouth (118) was fifth and Western Reserve (122) was sixth.
“If you have a pack like that, it’s great,” Landis said. “After the top three, it’s great that we can lean on other guys if someone is having a bad day to keep us competitive.”
Curtis Joppeck ran 17:14.28 to pace New London in third. Dominic Albaugh (17:27.22) was fifth, Carson Coey (17:31.27) was sixth and Tyler Twining (17:40.89) was seventh.
Also for New London, Cole Kropka was 10th (17:48.11), Mitchell Joppeck (18:02.01) was 15th and Caleb Good (18:47.25) was 26th.
“Tyler had a lifetime PR today as a freshman,” Landis said. “Cole almost ran a PR on our course, which is not fast. But our No. 6 was 18:02 today, and if we can get them all under that time — it bodes well for the next few weeks.”
New London is ranked 12th in the latest state coaches poll.
“We’re pleased with how the guys ran, but we’re kind of looking down the road a little bit,” Landis said. “This was step one in the process, and we’re hoping to string a few more good weeks together.”
St. Paul’s Noah Avandano was the overall race winner in 16:56.17, which was 10 seconds ahead of Crestview’s Leo Ringler. Also for the Flyers, Zack Stine was 23rd (18:36.45) and Ryan Gross (18:42.13) was 24th.
Plymouth’s Levi Robinson was fourth overall in 17:16.30, while Justin Robinson was 14th in 18:00.33.
For Western Reserve, Sam Beaudin (18:17.76) was 20th, followed by Aidan Fry-Silva (21st, 18:34.99) and Eli Webb (22nd, 18:34.99).
Dowdell three-time FC champ; St. Paul wins team title
NEW LONDON — Standout runner Lily Dowdell paced four runners among the top 12 as St. Paul won the FC girls team championship on Saturday.
Dowdell was again the overall race winner, turning in a time of 20:09.07. That makes her a three-time individual FC champion with still one more year left for the junior.
St. Paul won the tight race with 44 points, followed by Western Reserve (51) in second and New London (63) in third. Rounding out the scoring was Mapleton (84), Crestview (113), Plymouth (172) and Monroeville (183).
Claire Ceccoli was fifth for St. Paul in 21:18.48. Dana Sumpter was seventh (21:31.64), one week after running 22:42.82 on the same course at the Dan Olien Invitational.
Also for St. Paul, Cheyene Null (22:12.92) was 12th, followed by Madelyn McCall (19th, 22:50.65), Alexandra Abel (25th, 23:24.93) and Catherine Massie (30th, 24:08.88).
Western Reserve had four runners among the top 11 in Saturday’s race, led by McKenna Woodruff in sixth (21:26.25). She was followed by Aliyah Perez (21:45.36) in eighth, Ashlyn Barnhart (22:05.3) in 10th and Brooke Perkins (22:06.99) in 11th.
Also for the Roughriders, Tabi Pausch (22:35.46) was 16th, Rachel Herbkersman (22:57.33) was 20th, and Madison Weiser (24:19.31) was 31st.
For New London, — also ranked No. 12 in the state coaches poll — six runners were among the top 23, paced by the 2-3 finish of Kaylin Williams (20:19.74) and Gabrielle Osterland (20:34.27).
Savannah Shaver (22:26.74) was 15th for the Wildcats, while Dana Gustely (23:07.06), Grace Crawshaw (23:08.15) and Esther Schmidt (23:20.44) each placed 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Abigail Good (24:40.25) rounded out the scoring in 33rd.
Plymouth was paced by Olivia Fidler (23:24.64) in 24th and Eliza Redden (23:45.95) in 29th. Monroeville’s Rachel Herner (23:29.33) placed 26th, with Adelynn Kradlak (24:53.77) and Payton Scheid (25:14.56) in 36th and 37th, respectively.
All of the FC teams minus Mapleton will run at next week’s district meet held at Amann Park in Galion.