TROY — Junior Melissa Barrett finished 51st overall Saturday at the Troy Cross Country Regional Championships to lead the field of runners for the Northmont girls team.
Barrett crossed the finish line in 19 minutes, 59.4 seconds (19:59.4) as Northmont finished 14th overall out of a field of 16 teams. The Lady Bolts had been projected to finish in 15th place.
“Barrett has really come on strong,” said Northmont Coach Joe Barnes. “She started the season out running in the 22 minute range. At the Bob Schul Invitational she ran a 22:11 and by the Greater Western Ohio Conference meet she knocked her time down to 19:57 and got a 19:59 at Troy so he has definitely turned it on.”
Course conditions along the river levee were surprisingly good despite the recent heavy rain experienced in the Miami Valley. The windy conditions during the days leading up to the race helped wipe out any standing puddles.
Sophomore Jordan Rife was Northmont’s second finisher, crossing the line in 20:39.8.
“Jordan had pretty much been my number one runner all season, but for two weeks she had been sick battling a really bad head cold that finally went away,” Barnes noted. “I knew that she would rebound and have a pretty good race, and that’s exactly what she ended up doing. She had a really good race for being sick for the last two or three weeks.”
Following Rife was senior Kimea Lawrence finishing 91st in 20:43.8 and senior Clara Leedy at 92nd in 20:44.8.
“Those top five are typically my top five, but the order of finishes sometimes switches up,” Barnes noted.
Sophomore Aubrey Kosak ran well despite wearing a knee brace, finishing 114th with a time of 21:26.7.
“She has been having a tracking issue with her knee probably for a month now,” Barnes said. “She had a heck of a race last week at district and then for her to follow that up with a strong race this week was good to see as well.”
Junior Taylor Evans finished 121st in 22:13.3 and sophomore Caitlin Hoyng finished 123rd in 22:26.9 on a day that was fairly chilly with wind whipping off the river to make the running conditions less than ideal.
Last week’s district race was even windier with the finish line clock getting blown over twice. After getting blown over the first time Jack Lintz rigged the clock up to a ladder and it got blown over again. Such is the weather in early fall in the Miami Valley.
“I am pretty happy with how the season went,” Barnes added. “We are finally progressing to where next year we can take an even bigger step. This year, at one point, I had five girls running sub-21 minutes, which hasn’t happened since probably the early to mid-2000s, so I am really happy with where the girls program is headed.”
Junior Ethan Shade was the only Northmont boy runner to qualify for regional. He ran a solid race finishing 60th overall out of a field of 130 runners.
“The boys team as projected to come in this year as a really good powerhouse team, but we were struck by injury, after injury, after injury. The good news is the majority of those boys that were injured will be returning next year,” Barnes stated. “This was the best race that Ethan Shade has run. It was not his best time, but by far it was the best race that I have actually witnessed him race. He went out there and he just kept picking people off from the start to the finish. In fact, he finally beat Jared Wamsley of Wayne (66th place, 17:15.1) for the first time all year. He had been working on tracking him. Wamsley beat Ethan by about 20 seconds last week at district, so Ethan finally finished ahead of him at the most important race of the year.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind