Nordonia sophomore Leah Vasarhelyi took a wrong turn Saturday morning at Goodyear Heights Metro Park
Fortunately for her, the mishap on the 3.1-mile course did not cost her as she won the Suburban League Cross Country Championship race in a time of 20 minutes, 23 seconds.
“I am very happy for Leah,” Nordonia coach Mike Martin said. “She was actually dinged up and went the wrong way, which added a little time. She is running really well though.”
Tallmadge junior Patrick Ferguson followed the course properly and won the Suburban League boys title in 16:31, which is 1:01 better than his previous best time at Goodyear.
“I went hard and there were certain spots along the course that I knew I had to focus on,” Ferguson said. “I just executed my plan. At about the mile mark, I knew I wanted to get a surge going. I wanted to go out hard at the start and I wanted to go fast across the straightaway across the field heading to the big hill.”
Vasarhelyi guided Nordonia’s girls, who won the team title with 49 points. Wadsworth (67 points) was second and Highland (85 points) was third.
“I am really proud of us and how we ran as a team,” Vasarhelyi said. “My time was OK. I had a rough week of training, but it is a good run.”
The Knights boys also won a team title with 47 points. Placing second was Wadsworth (66 points) and Tallmadge (84 points) was third.
“I knew my girls team was pretty good,” Martin said. “We were defending league champs and had almost everybody back. I had an expectation that we were going to win. On the guys side, we graduated four out of our top five. We had to rebuild. The kids worked real hard to get where they are today.”
Highland senior Cole Vandenberg (16:35) and freshman Carlee Rhodes (20:31) were runners-up in their respective races.
Nordonia junior Zak Thaxton was third and senior George Demain fourth in the boys race. Sophomore Charlie Korodi, junior Jacob Karnow and freshman Brian Zaborski also scored for the Knights.
“We are excited with where we are going,” Martin said. “If you look at the formula for successful distance runners, hard work and commitment are very important. That is what my girls do and that is what they are all about.”
Senior Frances Simmons, freshman Dana Risley, junior Kayla Tomak and sophomore Heather Ross also scored for the Nordonia girls.
“It is really exciting to win,” Simmons said. “I knew all of our girls were looking forward to running against all these teams again because they are all really tough.”
Highland senior Nicole Hadler and Tallmadge freshman Anna Bartlett finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Other girls in the top 12 were Green freshman Alyssa Thomas, Risley, Copley senior Kate Sabin, Tallmadge junior Nicole Rinaldi, Wadsworth sophomore Kenzi Hines, Green freshman Sara Schaub and Wadsworth sophomore Haley Smith.
Copley junior Chris Onyak was fifth and Highland senior Stuart Arbuckle placed sixth.
Other boys in the top 12 were Korodi, Tallmadge junior Brian McGovern, Wadsworth junior Jeff Batey, Green junior Keith Genetin, Wadsworth junior Ben Murphy and Green sophomore Noah Schaub.
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.