HEBRON – West Liberty-Salem’s Joey Adams placed 15th at the Division III state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway on Saturday, finishing the race in 16:15.5.
“I’ll take the podium, it’s pretty surreal going through four years of high school and then winding up there,” Adams said. “Whether it’s first place or 15th place, like I got today, I still gave God all the glory and He gave me the strength to finish the race.”
Adams went out with the pack near the front, but came in well behind the winner and was a little off the pace of the lead runners at the finish.
“The first mile was quick,” Adams said. “It takes it out of your legs a little bit to go that fast.”
Still, the senior standout improved every season in his state finishes, culminating with his first All-Ohio honors and his third Academic All-Ohio selection.
“That’s a great accomplishment. I know coming into it, he wanted to be in contention to win,” WL-S Coach Mike Louden said. “The race sums up Joey. It didn’t go exactly the way he wanted it to, but no way was he going to give up on that race.”
Adams’ time of 16:15.5 was the best 5k time ever recorded by a Big Orange runner at the state meet. His 15th place finish was the third best finish by a Big Orange runner since the 5k race started in 1982.
Also in Division III, West Liberty-Salem sophomore Reghan Bieleski finished 45th in 19:57.4 in the girls’ race.
“She ran a competitive race. She pretty much missed six weeks of training,” WL-S Coach Ann Vogel said. “For her to be here and be in the top 50, I’m just really proud of her and I think she’s happy with the race.”