MARIETTA -Caldwell coach Dugan Hill would have preferred the more Redskins the merrier at the OHSAA State Cross Country Championships at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron Saturday.
But it didn't quite work out that way at the Pickerington Regional when his harrier boys' team finished fifth in the Ohio Division III competition.
Only the top four teams qualify for state.
"I'm very disappointed that we're not going to state as a team," Hill said. "I consider cross country to be the ultimate of team sports. "Tanner (Harding) ran really well, but some of the other kids faltered."
Nevertheless, Harding, third in the regional in a time of 16 minutes, 38.11 seconds, will be competing at state as an individual, because he finished he in the top 16. And so will his Redskin teammate Jonathan Niswonger, who placed 15th in 17:19.78.
"Tanner's not very big but he's a strong runner," Hill said. "He's been very consistent this season."
- Tanner Harding, 16:38.11.
- Jonathan Niswonger, 17:19.78.
- Jenna Furr, 20:03.73.
- Jordan Anderson, 17:03.37
- Jon Anderson, 17:09
- Matt Cheeseman, Ford McElroy, Matt Roush, and Quentin Webb will also attend the meet.
- Mitchell Grose, 16:11.07.
- Cray Sistrunk, 17:11.80
Jenna Furr will be the lone Caldwell girls runner at state, thanks to a 16th-place finish in 20:03.73. Katie Saling, a state qualifier last year, placed 26th overall in the regional.
While Caldwell was unlucky as far as qualifying a team to state, Fort Frye fared much better.
The Alana Cunningham-coached FFHS boys punched their first-ever ticket to state with a runner-up placement in the regional. Pacing the Cadets were brothers' Jordan and Jon Anderson, who ran 17:03.37 and 17:09, respectively, in the regional.
Also going will be Matt Cheeseman, Ford McElroy, Matt Roush, and Quentin Webb.
Individually, Marietta's Mitchell Grose, an 11th-place regional finisher in 16:11.07, will be competing at state in the Division I field.
In Division III, Belpre's Cray Sistrunk, 13th in 17:11.80, will also be seeking All-Ohio status.
To become an all-stater, a runner needs to place in the top 25.
This will be the second straight year that the state cross country championship will be held at the National Trail Raceway. The boys race is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. while the girls are expected to toe the line at 1:30 p.m.
"It's a very flat course," Hill said.