HEBRON – The West Liberty-Salem girls squad finished 20th in the 20-team field at the state cross country meet on Saturday. Even so, just qualifying was more than was expected of this young team. It was the sixth time that the Tigers had been to the state meet.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s something the girls really worked hard for. All year, it didn’t look like this was a possibility,” WL-S Coach Ann Vogel said. “The fact that we scrapped and clawed our way into the regional, I think we may have used all our energy up. There wasn’t a whole lot of emotion left for us here.”
Reghan Bieleski finished 47th to pace the Tigers with a time of 19:43. Grace Adams was 60th (19:55), Payton Umphries 148th (21:58), Lydia Moell 154th (22:12), Kiana Reames 170th (22:45), Lauren Fowler 173rd (23:03) and Jenna Magnuson 177th (23:15).
“There were a lot of people, but it was that we were running as a team at state that really got us. It made us excited to carry on the tradition,” Magnuson said. “It was nice to run in all four years and finish with this team at state.”
Bieleski had been to the state meet twice before, but both appearances were as an individual – without her teammates.
“It really does help me, because I have my team there on the line and I’m not all by myself out there. I have someone else to run with,” Bieleski said.
In the Division III boys race, West Liberty-Salem’s Nick Williams finished 49th in 16:48.
Nick capped off an amazing junior season with a 16:48.3 on the biggest stage. His 49th place finish is the third-best finish by a Big Orange runner at the state meet, second only to two higher finishes by Joey Adams in my 11 years of coaching the program,” said WL-S Coach Mike Louden. “Nick ran a solid and consistent race. I’m extremely appreciative of Nick and what he brought to the program day in and day out this season. He was a model of consistency and a true class-act for our program.”
Willams also earned Academic All-Ohio honors.