By TIM CLEVELAND
For the Star Beacon
In next Saturday’s state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Division II opponents of Ashtabula Edgewood will be seeing double as twins Chris and Josh LeMay both qualified for state at Saturday’s regional at Boardman High School.
While Chris cruised to an eighth-place finish in 16:58.85, Josh was easily in the top 10 before going down late in the race.
“It feels good; it feels real good,” Chris said of advancing to state. “I felt like I did good; in this weather, very good.”
Josh got up and earned the 16th and final qualifying spot in 17:05.37.
“I felt good until the end,” he said. “Some kid knocked me down. I don’t know if he did it on purpose.
“This will be my first time (at state). It feels great, but I just wish I did better.”
The top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to state.
“The top two guys did really good,” Edgewood coach Steve Hill said. “The twins ran a great race. They should both be going to Columbus. That’s really all we wanted. The other guys, they ran about the same as they’ve been running all season long. We didn’t get any better and didn’t get any worse.”
While the LeMay twins will be moving on, the Warriors as a team finished just 13th out of 16 teams in Division II with 300 points.
Other Edgewood runners were Noah Morgan (101st in 18:50.86), Zach LeMay (108th in 19:26.23), Tyler Pocsics (113th in 19:37.99), Ryder Simmons (118th in 19:54.91) and Cory Stewart (120th in 20:16.83).
“We hoped that we were going to get better at the end of the season, but overall it’s been consistent,” Hill said. “We were hoping for a little bit better today.”
The only other individual boy to qualify from the area was Perry senior Aaron Gessic.
Gessic placed sixth in Division II, with a qualifying time of 16:57.07.
Also in Division II, Jefferson placed 16th as a team with 400 points. Brandon Scribben was the Falcons’ top individual, finishing 54th in a time of 17:50.00.
Pymatuning Valley had a team goal of finishing in the top 10, but the Lakers were 15th out of 16 teams in Division III with 393 points.
Pymatuning Valley’s top finisher was senior Rory Gallatin, who was 80th in 18:26.04.
Chet Mientkiewicz placed 82nd in 18:26.85. He said the team had mixed results on the day.
“It was not that great of a performance, but I know I put everything I had into it,” he said. “Even though it wasn’t a smart run, I know I left it all out there.
“As a team, our four and five guys did really well today. The two seniors — me and Rory — did pretty good, and my brother (Corry). I know he left it all out there.”
Lakers coach Landon Hamilton said his team ran as he wanted them to.
“They were close together, and that’s what you want is pack running,” he said. “They were pretty close together one through five, and then six and seven ran pretty well too.”
Chet Mientkiewicz and Hamilton both said it was an uphill battle for Pymatuning Valley to advance beyond the regional.
“We were real glad just to be here today,” Mientkiewicz said. “We didn’t have much expectations past that.”
“This region’s pretty stacked,” Hamilton said. “You had probably six or seven of the top teams in the state running here today. There’s only four spots. There’s going to be some disappointed teams.”
While the season didn’t end as Hamilton would’ve liked, he said the Lakers made vast strides over the course of the campaign.
“We improved a lot from our first race to our last race,” he said. “They all ran together as a team and came together.”
In Division I, the Riverside’s team finished 15th overall. The Beavers were led by Matt Lee’s 59th place run in a time of 17:14.96.
One spot behind Riverside was Madison in 16th place.
Junior Pat Darrough led the Blue Streaks with a run of 17:43.72.
Cleveland is a freelance writer from Warren.