The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


September 25, 2013

Warrior mentality

Girls pull surprise to capture county title

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The Edgewood girls cross country team didn’t have a runner win the race. It didn’t place anyone in the top five.

What the Warriors did do, however, was beat a pair of teams who each had two runners in the top five in claiming the All-Ashtabula County Meet championship at Edgewood on Tuesday.

The Warriors placed five runners between sixth and 12th place to total 46 points.

“This was a big step for the girls,” Edgewood coach Steve Hill said. “We were probably expected to finish no better than third. The girls had a great week of practice.”

“When we started off, we looked pretty impressive. It was exciting. I was a little surprised, truth be told, that it kept together without somebody breaking it up. Give all the credit in the world to the girls. They wanted to stay together and they did.”

“When (Edgewood) came around on mile one, they were already running as a pack. They set their positions in that first mile. In the second mile that distance got bigger. We missed our chance in the first mile.”

Lakeside was second with 49 points and Geneva was third with 58.

“I’m not surprised (Edgewood won),” Lakeside coach Christina Powers said. “I’ve been watching them run all season. The girls’ times are getting faster. I knew they were trying to keep that pack together. That was one of our concerns. Our job was to break up that pack. We didn’t and that’s what cost us.”

The Dragons’ Karen Barrientos finished in 19:45 to outdistance Jessica Finley of Grand Valley to win the individual championship.

“I felt good that first mile,” Barrientos said. “I knew my pace was where it was supposed to be. If I had to pass people, that was my job.”

Finley navigated the 3.1-mile course in 19:48.

Emily Deering was third in 20:18 and Hailey VanHoy was fourth in 20:52 for the Eagles.

“The top two girls were phenomenal,” Deering said. “It would have been nicer if I’d have been a lot closer to them, that’s for sure.”

“I did feel good about the race,” VanHoy said. “I know I slowed down that last mile. I was hoping for a PR. I was close. It was definitely a season best.”

Carlie Watt placed fifth in 21:38 for Lakeside.

Barrientos, Finley, Deering and VanHoy clung to each other like magnets for the first mile, easily putting some distance between themselves and the pack. It was clear each person in the group was operating under the same strategy.

“We were all pretty close until about that second mile,” Deering said. “I don’t know where Karen gets it from, but she always kicks during the second mile. I don’t know where she pulls it from.

“I think all of our coaches had the same idea. Stay close then pass, stay close, then pass.”

Watching those four maneuver the first half of the race was like watching a gunfight in the old west. They stared each other down, waiting for the tiniest muscle twinge.

Barrientos proved to be the quickest draw. The Dragon made her move midway through the race.

“She made (the move) before I did,” Finley said. “She was more mentally tough than I was. She definitely deserves everything she got today.”

Finley followed, hot on Barrientos’ heels. Deering and VanHoy fell off the pace.

“I feel like they accelerated and I slowed down a little bit,” VanHoy said.

“It was nice to run in a group of people. I usually fall back and run alone. It was nice to run with someone for the first half of the race.”

At the start of the second loop through the course, Finley made a costly mistake, continuing to run straight when the course turned to the left. She corrected herself quickly, but it cost precious seconds and gave ground away to Barrientos.

“That was stupid,” Finley said. “I don’t know what I was thinking. (Barrientos) put up her arms and I lost her. That made up the separation in time. But that’s not what really mattered. I got back up on her. It was right there at the end.

“It’s all mental in this sport. It really sucks when you give up. I wish I would have endured those extra few seconds of pain. I’d have been happier in the end. She was more mentally tough than I was. She deserves it. She ran a great race.”

Finley’s falter was all the window Barrientos needed.

“I didn’t know if that was going to break her or what,” Barrientos said. “I’m proud of her for keeping up. She stayed up there with me.”

Barrientos relaxed for the briefest period and Finley gained back the ground she’d lost, but the damage was already done. A strong finish gave Barrientos the win.

“Coach always tells us to run like a sprinter the last 400. That’s exactly what I did. I knew I had to push it.”

Shelbie Sporcich and Andrea Zuccaro placed sixth and seventh in 22:28 and 22:30, respectively, for the Warriors. They were followed by Kate Crooks (22:55), Savannah Spring (22:59) and Newman (23:04) in 10th, 11th and 12th place.

“We’ve been working on that all year long,” Hill said. “Today, (our pack) was much bigger than it usually is.

“Our No.-5 runner, Angel Newman, really stepped up for us today. She was the difference between winning and losing.

Colleen O’Connor of Jefferson and Emma Hanchosky of Geneva did their best to split that pack the best they could. O’Connor was eighth in 22:48 and Hanchosky was ninth in 22:50.

Lakeside placed all seven runners ahead of the Eagles top five to edge out Geneva.

“We displaced two (of Geneva’s runners) We got our sixth and seventh runners ahead of their five. That’s what made the difference. Our third and fourth runners finished ahead of their fourth runner. That was big.”

Abby Volpone was 13th in 23:19, Megan Abrams was 14th in 23:26, Shyanne Cooper was 16th in 23:40, Leah Kingston was 19th in 24:04 and Krista Severe was 20th in 24:09.

Breanna Nichols (15th, 23:39) and Holly Engle (26th, 24:38) completed the scoring for the Eagles.

Saydi Lappe was the top runner for Pymatuning Valley, placing 17th in 23:49, and Danielle Hall paced Conneaut placing 18th in 23:54.   

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

Text Only
  • Kaydee Vaulting to The Rock

    When Jefferson’s Kaydee DeVivo first started pole vaulting as a freshman for the Falcons, she knew it was the event for her.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video