HEBRON: St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Dan Lancianese loves speed.
Fighting Irish senior Mick Iacofano delivered just that in the biggest meet of the season, winning the Division II boys state individual championship in a time of 15 minutes and 32.98 seconds Saturday morning at National Trail Raceway.
“This still hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Iacofano said with a big grin on his face after hugging Lancianese and several teammates and friends.
Defiance senior Abel Flores placed second in 15:46.48.
“I just can’t believe it,” Iacofano said. “I have been trying to get the mentality that I could possibly do it, and then I just knew going up the hill if I was right behind him [Flores] I was going to go for it, so all the way down the hill I tried to pick up the pace and I was able to do it. This just feels great. I never thought this would happen.”
Woodridge won the Division II team championship with 83 points. Defiance took second with 109 points.
St. Thomas Aquinas senior Cory Glines, a University of Michigan recruit, posted the best time of an area runner with a 15:20.66 to finish second in Division III.
Walsh Jesuit senior Brian Brennan posted the second-best time of an area runner with a 15:22.63 to finish third in Division I.
“It was a [personal-record] time for me by about 15 seconds,” Brennan said. “I just wanted to stay in the pack until the last mile. My last mile ever, I just wanted to give it all I had. It was just awesome.
“This my third time [at state]. I just wanted to enjoy every second of the race. I just tried to smile as much as I could.”
Iacofano’s win in Division II was a bit unexpected after he placed third at the Tiffin regional meet last week following a first place at the Akron district meet the week prior. He bettered his personal-best time by about 27 seconds.
“This is my favorite time of the year,” Lancianese said. “It’s speed. I love speed. Mick just tactically ran a brilliant race. He was relaxed and he was calm. He just kept his eyes focused and was laser sharp going after it.”
Lancianese said he dropped mileage down and worked on speed and strength.
“We practiced all week long having rabbits [reserve runners] seven seconds or more ahead, and then chasing them down,” Lancianese said.
Coach Jeff Howard guided Woodridge to its sixth Division II team title in the past seven seasons.
“This is a big one,” Howard said. “On paper, this isn’t the best team we have had, but they are incredible. They just really ran well. Our top four ran incredible and our five, six and seven did what they had to do. It is just an incredible day.”
Senior Matthew Wojcik placed eighth overall in 16:01.22 to lead the Bulldogs.
“I am feeling excitement and proud,” Wojcik said. “I can’t believe we brought it back. This is my fourth state team to be on and we won the first two years.
“We just threw down the miles all summer. That is all we did all summer, and now look at where we are at.”
Seniors Alex Frederick and Sam Scourfield also scored for Woodridge with junior John Harry and sophomore Noah Bullock.
“They believed in each other,” Howard said. “We have a nice program. We have great kids and great parents, and they all love each other. We are really blessed. We had a lot of alumni out here too.”
Twinsburg junior Garrett Crichlow celebrated his 17th birthday Saturday by placing eighth in the Division I race in 15:33.43.
“This is amazing and a great birthday present,” Crichlow said. “A 15:33 and eighth place is amazing. My goal was to stay in the top group and it worked. At the end I kicked as hard as I could.”
The other two individual champions were Tippecanoe senior Sam Wharton (Division I, 15:09.95) and Versailles senior Samuel Prakel (Division III, 15:16.62).
Hudson senior Vince Moeglin and sophomore Kyle Mau joined Brennan and Crichlow to finish in the top 25 and receive All-Ohio honors in Division I.
Eight area runners met the All-Ohio criteria in Division II: Iacofano, Wojcik, Frederick, Scourfield, CVCA junior Ben Bockoven and sophomore Ryan Adams and Buckeye seniors Ryan Gallagher and J.J. Grzincic.
Glines and Northwestern junior Shane Berger were tabbed All-Ohio in Division III.
St. V-M senior Matt Oswald and sophomore Joe Rossetti narrowly missed out on being All-Ohio in Division II.
Also posting times under 16:31 in Division I were Walsh seniors Jordan Shepherd and Cole Francetic, Twinsburg junior Nick Schank, Brunswick seniors Tyler Menear and Logan Indre and Medina junior Dan Schwendler.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com.