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H-L boys 12th, Foster finishes on podium again

HEBRON — When Hopewell-Loudon returned its whole team from a state-qualifying squad last season, expectations were high entering the 2019 campaign.

Coach Helen Coleman knew a top-12, top-10 finish Saturday at the state meet would be a solid

performance.

That’s exactly what the Chieftains did.

With Jordan Foster leading the way in 18th (16:34) place, H-L placed 12th as a team with 300

points at National Trail Raceway Saturday.

The Chieftains were right behind fellow Sandusky Bay Conference River Division member Sandusky St.Mary (260) as Summit Country Day won the state title with 98 points over Mt. Gilead (112).

“I am satisfied and state cross country is always a different race than any other race you run during the year, so there’s always things that can happen,” Coleman said.

“We had a couple guys that didn’t run where I thought they could have, but overall, we did a good job.

“This has been a great group. I really can’t say enough about how they are quality guys and the talent and they are outstanding young men.”

Foster, who placed 16th last year, said he was satisfied with his race. He said the race felt different than last year’s, with more talent and just a different overall feel.

“I like the cold and that helpedme last year I think,” Foster said. “Last year was a surprise to get on the podium and this year it was kind of expected, so I had to really push myself. It was definitely a tougher race this year.

“It’s two places back from last year, but every race is different. My coaches have taught me to celebrate the little victories where I get them and be happy with what I can get. It’s nice to know I’m finishing on a happy note and I know most of the guys were happy with where they finished. We had a good four-year run together in high school. It’s sad, but we are excited to start that new chapter.”

Backing Foster was Trey Masterson (66th, 17:18.3), Carter Ritchey (111th, 17:46.9), Sam Meade (121st, 17:554), Caden Crawford (136th, 18:05.8), Bryce Arbogast (144th, 18:11.8) and Brendan

Durbin (161st, 18:34).

“We’re definitely going to have a different dynamic next year because we are graduating four seniors from the Top 7, so we’ll have a little work to do,” Coleman said. “I’m hoping some of the

younger guys will step up and know what it’s like to be a part of a tournament team like this and be ready to accept that challenge for next year.”

In the same Division III race, Old Fort’s Garrett Havens placed 64th (17:17.7) and Lakota’s Braden Schaser finished 71st (17:21.4).

The lone area runner in Division II was Bellevue’s Cayden Adams. Adams crossed the line 76th (17:02.7). Shelby’s Caleb Brown set a course record with his win in 15:05.

In the last race of the day, Columbian’s Caden Groves was hoping to improve on his finish last season in the Division I race.

Just like the H-L boys, he did just that. He finished 47th in 16:14, which was 25 spots better than his finish last season at state, and he clipped about a full minute off his time (17:03.5).

“Felt really well with the time, but I feel like I definitely could have went out faster,” Groves said. “Started out a little slow and got boxed in a little, but I made a hard push to get to the twomile, gave it all I had left at the end. It definitely was a better race than last year.

“The course this year was in a lot better condition, which helped a lot. I was more mentally focused this year. Last year was my first and I got all the jitters out. I felt really good at the beginning of the race, just went for it. Next year, it’s just everything I got. It’s my last chance and I want that podium spot. I’ll have to work hard for it, but I think I can do it.”

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