HEBRON — Taking a cue from their girls soccer counterparts, the Beavercreek girls cross country team won a state title of its own Nov. 10, just a day after the soccer team had won a Division I title.
Beavercreek junior speedster Taylor Ewert led from start to finish to claim the Girls D-I individual crown for herself with a time of 17 minutes, 38.7 seconds over a very muddy and slippery course. Teammate Savannah Roark ended her season on the podium as a top-20 finisher, placing 16th, and teammates Juliann Williams, Jodie Pierce, Emma Johnson, Kendall Hobbs and Bently Barrett also ran strong to claim the school’s second girls state cross country title ever.
“I’m overcome with joy. I know that we had been (ranked) in first place, but to do it in the biggest race, we knew we had to race Centerville and everybody else. It was a team effort. I knew Taylor would do her thing, but I’m just really proud of all the girls,” Beavercreek girls coach Howard Russ said.
Russ said the team was inspired by the girls soccer team’s state championship win over Strongsville the night before.
“We sent them inspirational messages last night; they sent us inspirational messages today. It felt like we had to do something big for the whole community of Beavercreek.”
Despite the bitter cold weather, and a race run on a slippery and very muddy course, Ewert won the event by almost a full 26 seconds over the second-place finisher.
“I think the biggest thing was that I wanted to win — not just for myself, but to help my teammates with the score,” Ewert said. “I just went out there focused to get the job done, so’s that I could come out on top. And I’m just so happy for my teammates. We’ve been waiting for this day. And to have it and accomplish it, it’s just awesome!”
The only other time the Beavercreek girls had won a team cross country title was 1994.
Moments after the girls D-II race, Bellbrook teammates Minami Ford and Emily Pelfrey were seen consoling each other. They didn’t think they had run as well as they should have in the state race … until they were informed that the team had placed a school-record best of third overall.
The tears flowed and the two embraced in cheer.
“We trained so hard! … This team is one of the greatest teams I’ve ever been on … I’m really really happy right now,” Ford said while crying tears of joy. “I’m really glad that I got to do this with them.”
Assistant coach Blake Barnes said Bellbrook’s previous best at state was a sixth place finish.
“And they just topped that,” he said. “It’s tough to realize how well you did at the state meet, because there might be so many girls finishing in front of you. It has the tendency to feel like you did really, really bad, but in fact there’s a lot of really fast individuals out here today, those kids are supposed to be in the front.
“The girls ran an amazing race today, and they’ve stuck together as a team all season.”
In the boys races, Ethan Wallis led Cedarville by placing 15th overall in a time of 16:59.3. The Cedarville team placed 15th overall.
“In all school history, this is the second time that Cedarville has ever made it to a state event. The last time was 1945 for baseball and that was a state semifinal game,” Wallis said. “This is a really big moment for our school.”
Carroll’s Grant Arnold was the lone Greene County area competitor on the boys Division I race, finishing 91st.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.