Large smiles adorned the faces of Ellet’s Kristi Kester and Dorlan Bell as they posed for pictures together Saturday afternoon at Goodyear Heights Metro Park.
Kester and Bell both raised up one finger to signal their place in their respective City Series Championship Cross Country races.
“We’re making Ellet proud!” Kester shouted with a grin.
Kester completed the 3.1-mile course in 21 minutes, 25 seconds Saturday, just two seconds off her personal-best time.
“I am a senior and I have honestly been dreaming about this since my freshman year,” Kester said. “It means so much for me to come out and race with everybody. It was a beautiful day. It was a wonderful day for everybody out here. I am really excited.”
Bell, a freshman, won the boys race in 18:09.
“It was a good race,” Bell said. “I am glad I set a [personal record] from a 18:54 to 18:09. Both were on this course. I worked real hard to win the City championship and I am very happy.”
The Firestone boys team continued its mastery over City Series opponents by winning its 10th league team championship in a row, and 11th in 12 seasons, with 26 points. Ellet was second with 63 points and Buchtel was third with 72 points.
“We talk about the streak,” Firestone coach Tim Carroll said. “We are very proud of it. Keep in mind that back in the 1990s we only won one City title. So, winning 10 in a row is not something we have done in the past and not something that is easy to do
“I think we have worked hard and gotten more kids out to run. We have tried to motivate them to win City. Before this 10-year run, we didn’t win many City titles in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.”
Falcons juniors Jacob Petry (18:17), Quinn Gilbert and Nathan Herr placed second through fourth. Sophomores Harley Moyer and Zal Daneshgari were 10th and 11th.
The Falcons boys’ team features just three seniors on its roster of 37 runners.
“We have a lot of young people this year,” Petry said. “It will be good to get them to come back and hopefully get more. We had a big team this year, bigger than we have ever had.”
Ellet won the City Series girls team title with 41 points, just ahead of Firestone (43 points) and Buchtel (55 points).
“It was a well-fought battle,” Ellet coach Matt Cochran said. “The girls stepped it up the last mile, which is exactly what I have been preaching for the last two weeks. I wanted them to believe in their capabilities, and to believe in themselves. They showed that they were listening to me and took what I was saying to heart.”
The top 10 girls were all from Ellet, Buchtel or Firestone.
Buchtel junior Emani Griffin was runner-up in the girls race in 22:47. Griffins sophomores Simone Green and Brittany Tate-Lockett were third and fourth, respectively.
The other Ellet girls who scored were junior Kennedy Soyk, freshman Carissa McClelland, junior Mikhayla Callahan and senior Jennifer Sublett.
Firestone’s top five girls were sophomore Kate Piscetta, junior Leah Struhsaker, sophomore Paige White, freshman Lauren Vegh and sophomore Taylor Walker.
Other boys who placed in the top 10 were East junior Matthew Waldsmith, North senior Tyler Meadows, Ellet senior Jake Denham and Buchtel junior Ciandre Johnson.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.