TROY — Senior Gage Beireis qualified for the Division I state cross country championship by placing 15th at the Troy regional Saturday with a time of 16:27.37.
After an all-night soaking rain the course on the river levee was, amazingly, still useable. The weather conditions Saturday at 3 p.m. when the race began was only in the mid-forties with a steady wind that made it feel even colder.
Beireis overcame the rather difficult conditions to earn a berth to state.
“With Gage making it to state that was the goal today and that was the goal from day one,” said Northmont Coach Joe Barnes. “We talked at the beginning of the week and throughout the week about how at the two mile mark he had to be in the top fifteen. If you get up over the top of the hill at two miles, if you are in the top fifteen, you are in great position. That’s exactly what Gage did. He was in the top fifteen and I was screaming at him and I think he thought he was in twentieth or twenty first place when I was yelling at him, but I saw about seven guys right behind him. I was yelling, ‘You gotta go! You cannot let anyone pass!’ He finished strong. We practiced up here on Thursday and he practiced coming down the hill and striding to the finish and I think that right there was the ticket to him making it.”
The race always begin along the river on the levee for two laps and then up a hill and down to a lower level along a parking lot next to Troy High School’s football stadium and Hobart Arena. Runners go back up to the elevated level adjacent to the stadium head west towards Adams Street and back down the hill for the spring to the finish line adjacent to the football stadium.
Spectators at Troy witnessed senior Dustin Horter of Lakota East set a new Troy regional record with a blistering time of 15:02.54, the fastest time in the state. From the Youngstown regional sophomore Justin Iler of University School had the fastest time of 15:48.96. The Tiffin regional saw senior Zach Applegate of Bowling Green clock a time of 15:30.22 and from the Pickerington regional Matt Scrape of Pickerington Central finished in 15:37.08.
The number of qualifying teams and individual runners vary by region. Barnes said those numbers change from year to year depending on changes dictated by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Aubrey Kosak clocked the fastest time for the Northmont girls (20:57.94) to finish 90th overall.
“With the conditions today I still think that was a great time for her,” Barnes added. “I know in her heart she wanted to run in the nineteen second range, but when it decided to rain over an inch last night I knew it wasn’t going to happen. She went out there and ran a good race today and I am really proud of what she produced this season for us.”