Lincolnview's Dylann Carey (65) and Alena Looser navigate the course at National Trail Raceway in Hebron on Saturday. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
Lincolnview's Dylann Carey (65) and Alena Looser navigate the course at National Trail Raceway in Hebron on Saturday. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)

HEBRON — The 2017 state cross country meet could have been a preview of next season for the three local teams competing this past Saturday at National Trail Raceway outside of Hebron.

The Van Wert and Lincolnview squads all featured young, just one senior each, teams that competed on Saturday against the states best runners. And while they were looking for good runs this past Saturday, their coaches know that the future could hold a lot of promise, depending on how things go in 2018.

One local runner that finished his career Saturday was Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker. After a runner-up finish in 2016 at state, Siefker was back at state this year to try and improve on that finish, although he knew the individual championship would go through Colonel Crawford senior Chad Johnson, the defending state champion.

The 2017 state run finished the same as 2016 as Johnson got out quick and pulled away from the Big Green standout to repeat as state champion with a time of 15:33.3 as Siefker was second in 15:45.5. Liberty Center senior Cameron Stark finished third in 15:50.9.

“This year (finishing in), top two was really my goal,” Siefker said. “I wanted to give Johnson a good run. He led it pretty well at the first mile. I just kind of respected that and settled into my own race and finish second. So I was really happy with that.”

Although he wanted a win in his final high school race, Siefker knew that if he tried to keep pace with Johnson it could hurt his finish as well.

“Once you get gapped that much early, it’s kind of hard to get back in it,” Siefker said. “You kind of have to make an important decision early in the race, ‘Am I going to try and run with him when he does that, or am I going to run my race’. It’s kind of risky because if I run with him, maybe I will have a better shot. On the flip side, maybe you could die out too. I just went with what I felt today and I decided to run my pace.”

Saturday was Siefker’s third trip to the state finals and he made all-Ohio all three times as he was fourth as a sophomore and second the last two years.

Lincolnview’s boys team finished 14th in the 20 team Division III field with 329 points.

The Lacers were led by junior Karter Tow as he was 57th in 16:59.3 followed by junior Jacob Keysor in 17:25.5 and junior Alek Bowersock in 94th at 17:27.6 Devon Bill finished 126th in 17:55.4, Joe Sadowski was 145th in 18:21.6, Noah Daeger, the lone senior, was 175th in 19:32.4 and Evan Cox was 180th in 19:50.3.

“The boys were 14th and we were 15th coming in,” Lancer coach Matt Langdon said. “We had a very solid race today. All our kids ran really consistent today, our fifth boy, Joe Sadowski, actually PR’ed, which I think a lot of kids were unable to do and that allowed us to move up one spot.”

Parkway had a pair of individuals competing at state as sophomore Kyle Roth was 64th in 17:05.01, which was 36 spots better than what he finished last year when the Panthers competed as a team. Junior teammate Matt Gaerke finished 111th in 17:38.5, which was several spots below what he finished in 2016.

Van Wert’s boys team finished 13th in the 20 team Division II field Saturday with 329 points. That was the neighborhood where coach Ryan Holliday felt his team would finish unless they turned in a spectacular race Saturday.

“Honestly, we knew coming in we could finish tenth to 15th, somewhere in that range, that’s about where we should have finished,” Holliday said. “We thought if we put together a really great race we could crack the top 10. If we were below 15 it probably wasn’t a great day. Thirteenth for us is good. I was pleased with that.”

Freshman Jacob Wasson led the Cougars as he was 31st in 16:43.6. Junior Calahan Wolfrum finished 106th in 17:24.5, junior Gage Chiles was 115th (17:32.5), sophomore Holden Reichart was 120th (17:37.8) and sophomore Keaton Brown was 124th in 17:40.8. Sophomore Charlie Pauquette was 161st in 18:32.8 and senior Max Sealscott was 171st in 19:13.7.

“We had a lot of solid races from our guys. For most of these guys, except one, it’s their first state meet experience,” Holliday said. “To have a good solid day, even though our goal was top 10, we can walk away with our heads held high because we ran a solid day and had a tremendous season, especially the last month. It makes us hungry to get back here and do even better.”

The Lincolnview girls finished 20th in the 20 team Division III field with 397 points.

Freshman Madison Langdon led the Lady Lancers with a 73rd place finish in 20:32.7. Sophomore Victoria Snyder was 114th in 21:14.2, junior Brayden Langdon was 123rd in 21:23.4, junior Madelina Snyder was 134th in 21:32.9 and senior Alena Looser was 156th in 22:19.1. Freshman Dylann Carey was 169th in 22:45.1 and junior Rylee Byrne was 175th in 23:20.8.

“The girls finished 20th, it was really close. We were 18th coming in and were 11 points from that,” coach Langdon said. “The girls ran really solid. What they had to do last week to get here was really phenomenal, we knew it would be hard to repeat that today. They had a really solid race for us and I was happy for them, they had a great experience. None of those girls had run on the state course before, that’s a difficult task to ask. They are young, with just one senior, we are hoping that motivates them for next year.

“It’s been a fun week with both teams coming down, not a normal routine, with all the attention for both teams. We had a great time, the kids ran hard and ran a solid race. We preach all year it’s just a normal race, but this week was far from our routine. We are looking build both of these teams, we really weren’t supposed to be here this year, so we are a year ahead of schedule and hope this spring boards us to come down here next year and hopefully be some where in the top 10.”

Crestview sophomore Ragen Harting finished 57th in 20:17.7. In the boys' Division III race, Parkway's Kyle Roth placed 64th in 17:04.9 and Matt Gaerke was 111th in 17:38.4.