Blue Devils move on by finishing 6th

Columbian’s Anderson, H-L’s Reinhart-Anez and SW’s DeHaven to join them in Hebron

The overall result was expected. The bumpy journey there wasn’t.Still, Carey has another week to figure it all out.

After winning last week’s district title, the Blue Devils struggled as a whole Saturday, tumbling to sixth after losing a tiebreaker to Sandusky St. Mary.

But they were helped by a change to the regional format. In the past, the top four teams advanced to state. This year, the northwest region at Hedges-Boyer Park had 22 teams, meaning the top seven teams earned state berths.It means the Blue Devils get one more week to run, and figure things out.

“I’ve never been so conflicted, I think, in my whole life of the results of a race,” Carey coach Dean Kessler said. “Obviously, we’re pleased to be moving on to state, but we had much higher goals coming in here. I told the guys it was going to take 150 points to win this thing and we could have done it. We just did not run well as a team today, so we’re just extremely fortunate to get out to state. We’ve got a week to try to figure out what went wrong and try to correct it.”

St. Henry held off New London 158-169 for the team crown, with Liberty-Benton edging Parkway 175-178 for third.

Sandusky St. Mary and Carey both scored 183 points, with St. Mary getting the tiebreaker for fifth on the scores of the sixth runners.

Lincolnview claimed the final state team berth with 223 points.

“This race, everybody had a legitimate shot. This race, there wasn’t really a clear favorite coming in here. We just felt like we could come in and get the job done, and looking at what everybody else did, we could have (won) if we’d run like we’re capable of running,” Kessler said.

“But again, I don’t want to sound all sad-sacky because we’re moving on to state for the second year in a row,” he said. “We’re extremely fortunate that we ran as far off our good game as we were and we still get a chance to run in the last race of the year.”

Not all of the Blue Devils had off days.Carey’s Trevor Cook topped all area runners by clocking in third in 16:27.83.Third was his goal, even though he said the overall pace was a bit slower than he anticipated.

“It (the time) wasn’t terrible, but the pace went out a little bit slow, so I said ‘I’ll have to take whatever that is.’ Top three, I’m pretty set with that,” he said.

“We were looking to finish a lot higher than sixth place. I’m excited we’re still going to state as a team,” Cook said. “It was a blast last year (going to state) and hopefully we can all have a better race, and hopefully it’s a bit cooler so we can all have our better races.

“Tyler Leist added a 36th (17:38.12) for the state-bound Blue Devils, Jack Yeater ran 41st (17:46.55), Joe Oren ended 70th (18:06.93) and Gerardo Garcia took 105th (18:38.05).Jevyn Pratt (144th, 19:11.71) and Tanner Stoll (166th, 19:49.22) rounded out Carey’s team.

Seneca East turned back Old Fort 279-293 for 12th in the 22-team field.The top 28 individuals also earned state berths, which included two more area athletes.

St. Wendelin’s Nick DeHaven captured sixth in 16:50.52 and Hopewell-Loudon’s Tyler Reinhart-Anez finished 26th (17:23.75).DeHaven said he’d hoped to finish a couple spots higher in his bid for a return to state.

Still, it took a bit to end in the top 10.

The senior was 10th in a pack with about 800 meters to go before sprinting in the final 400 meters.“I’ve never went that fast in a sprint before, but I feel like I did OK. After I saw some of the other guys’ times, it didn’t make me that mad that I didn’t run a PR, but I’m OK,” DeHaven said. “I made it to state, and that’s what matters.

“State will be fun,” he said. “The whole month of November will be fun; turn 18 next Friday, state’s Saturday. Last race for St. Wendelin.”

It won’t be Reinhart-Anez’s final race for Hopewell-Loudon — he’s a junior — but the result was still hard to believe shortly after Saturday’s race.

“I’m still trying to process it. It’s still a little nerve-wracking,” Reinhart-Anez said.

“Everybody was basically the same speed, and really it was just a matter of who had the most at the end,” he said. “It was a very fast first mile.”

Seneca East’s Jacob Skidmore missed out on a state berth by one spot, finishing 29th (17:30.84). Kyle Burgderfer wound up 65th (18:02.7).

Old Fort’s Mike Heilman ran 33rd (17:36.52) and Jacob Clark came in 53rd (17:54.83).Braden Schaser of Lakota finished 51st (17:53.3), St. Wendelin’s Patrick Castillo claimed 92nd (18:29.52) and Hopewell-Loudon’s Jordan Foster took 125th (18:56.84).

One other area runner will run at state next.

Columbian’s Jacob Anderson earned his state berth by capturing third in the Division I race in 16:20.23.Anderson, who entered seeded fourth and led part of the way, said he felt Saturday’s race was a bit of retribution after missing out on a state berth last year.

“We needed one this year. We haven’t had one in a couple years,” he said, speaking of the Columbian program. “It’s always been our goal to make it to state, every since my freshman year. So making it this year is pretty exciting.”Teammate Tanner Schreiner finished 25th (17:41.9).

The top two teams and top eight runners earned a trip to state.

Fostoria’s Dylan Sheets was the lone area runner in the Division II race. He finished 52nd (18:14.58). The top four teams and top 16 runners advanced to state.