Pulse Journal Article
By Scott Hayes - Staff Writer
HEBRON — Finishing third in the state of Ohio is a tremendous accomplishment. But despite a third-place showing at the Division I girls cross country championships on Nov. 5, the Mason Comets were left wondering what might have been.
The Comets scored 118 points at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, a mere five points shy of state champion Brunswick. Mason’s point total tied Beavercreek’s, but the Beavers claimed the runner-up trophy on a tiebreaker as their sixth runner crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of the Comets’ sixth runner.
“It can’t get much closer than that,” Mason coach Chip Dobson said. “We’re talking just a few spots on the course. If a couple of our girls run just two or three seconds faster, we win everything.
“This one will stick with us for a while. I feel terrible for the girls who wanted this so bad and had such a great spirit and attitude all season long. To have it come down to a couple of points and to come out on the short side of that ... it’s a tough one to stomach.”
Mason’s Monica Lake earned All-Ohio status by finishing sixth overall with a time of 18 minutes, 18.37 seconds.
“I’m so proud of Monica,” Dobson said. “She fought through some foot problems that popped up a couple of weeks ago and dealt with it and ran a great race. She was our leader in many ways this year and did an outstanding job in that capacity.”
Lake was followed by Lauren Wood (40th, 19:06.41), Bridget McElhenny (42nd, 19:08.18), Tori Martin (73rd, 19:40.64) and Mackenzie Jensen (80th, 19:47.96). Nicole Steinbicker (101st, 20:06.69) and Maddie Baehre (116th, 20:21.75) rounded out Mason’s scoring.
“Our girls gave it everything they had,” Dobson said. “It was a nice course, but it was tough in that the third mile was ran out in the woods in no-man’s land. None of the runners had contact with their coaches in the last mile and that’s where a lot of dreams are made and hearts are broken, so having no contact with them in that part of the race was tough.
“But on the positive side, our girls were fighters and they worked tremendously hard throughout the course of the season, so I’m very proud of them.”
Boys finish ninth
For the third year in a row, the Mason High School boys cross country team finished as one of the top 10 teams in the state of Ohio.
The Comets placed ninth at the Ohio in the Division I boys race. Mason’s 237 point total was well behind state champion Dublin Coffman’s score of 101 and also well below their expectations.
“Only three teams in the state of Ohio can say they finished in the top 10 three years in a row and we tried to console the guys with that fact after the race,” Mason boys cross country coach Tom Rapp said. “There’s 190 other teams across Ohio that would love to be in this position.
“However, we thought coming into the race that we would be top four or better. So when you don’t perform up to the level of your own expectations, it’s tough. We were pretty disappointed.”
Mason put five runners in the top 100 at the state meet, but the Comets’ top finisher was 63rd as Tom Clark finished the race in 16 minutes, 27.38 seconds.
Clark was followed by Alex Notton (89th, 16:40.97), Brett Sanders (91st, 16:44.81), Connor Van Blaricom (92nd, 16:45.97), Zach Thompson (100th, 16:51.49), Ryan Sanders (107th, 16:55.49) and Joey Stimler (117th, 16:59.59).
“We didn’t get out from the starting line very well and it went downhill from there,” Rapp said. “We’re not really sure why. The kids were looking at me, I was looking at them ... not blaming anybody, I’m proud of our effort, but something just didn’t click on that day.”
Rapp said the Comets have plenty to be proud of, recording a top-10 finish after graduating three-time state champion Zach Wills from last year’s squad.
“We stepped into a new era this year and I thought the guys trained well and gave it a great run this season,” Rapp said. “But when you put it all on one race like we do with the state meet, you want to perform your best in that race and we didn’t. We’ll use it as a learning experience and motivation to do better next year.”
Regional Recap -
Boys &Girls Cross Country Team Off to State!
The Mason Girls Cross Country continued their run through the postseason earning a Regional Championship this past weekend at Troy. The Lady Comets defended their 2010 title with an almost 20 point margin over second place Beavercreek (67-86). It was the girl's 5th Regional Title in six years and punches their ticket for next weekends State Championships.
Mason was lead by Monica Lake who ran to a 3rd place overall finish with a solid time of 18:23. The team ran a tight pack after this, with Tori Martin, Lauren Wood and Bridget McElhenny all running shoulder to shoulder for well over 2 miles until they separated a touch in the last mile. Laruen ran great finishing in 14th, Bridget just behind Tori a few spots back. After this was Mackenzie Jensen who ran an awesome race, and made things happen in the all important 5th spot. Mackenzie delivered for the team and finished in a good time of 19:40. The team was also buoyed by NicoleSteinbicker who ran well for us in the 6th spot overall.
Now it’s on to State, where the ladies face Ohio’s best!. The Lady Comets will be looking to return to the podium where last year they were the girl's State Runnerup.
Mason Boys CC 2011 Regional Runnerup
The Mason Boys Cross Country team advanced to the State Cross Country Championship race for the 5th time in a row after finishing 2nd overall in a highly competitive Regional Championship on Saturday at Troy! The Comets were 3rd last year and just 14 points behind 1st place team St. Xavier.
Sophomore Connor Van Blaricom (Mason's 3rd man today) did more than his part by running a season and career best of 16:30 in 21st place overall, putting himself ahead of the Bombers’ 3rd man. Also of note are sophomores Tom Clark and Zac Thompson who kept a level head throughout the race. Clark ran 16:26, earning him the 10th spot on the Top 10 All Time Performance List. Junior Alex Notton was Mason’s first finisher in 16:25 and JoeyStimler (junior) was 5th for the Comets.
GMC Recap -
Mason Cross Country teams celebrated league championships on Satruday. The girl's cc team started things off earning their second consecutive championship at Voice of America Park. The boy's cc team made it a Mason sweep also earning their second conference title.
For the boys team, junior Alex Notton was Mason’s first scorer, placing third in a personal best time of 16:10. Mason’s 2nd man across the line was sophomore Tom Clark in 16:33. Close behind were junior Joey Stimler, sophomore Ryan Sanders and junior Connor Van Blaricom, all withing 12 seconds of each other. Mason piled in 5 runners in the top 18 overal and all 7 (with sophomore Steve Yates and senior Brett Sanders as 6th and 7th man) in the top 25. This is the first time in Mason Boys Cross Country history that all 7 runners in the same race finished under 17 minutes. Mason finished with 61 points as the overall winner. Lakota East placed second (89), Lakota West third (92), Sycamore fourth (93) and Colerain fifth (101) to round out the top five teams. Clark and Notton were named 1st Team All-GMC.
The depth of the Mason girl's team overpowered the rest of the GMC field on Saturday. Monica Lake finished 4th overall with a time of 18:41 to lead the Comets. Lauren Wood, Bridget McElhenny, and Tori Martin finished 7th, 8th and 9th respectfully, helping Mason outdistance 2nd place Sycamore 41-58. Other contributors to the Mason GMC title were Mackenzie Jensen 13th, Maddie Baehre 20th, and Delaney Mcdowell 32nd. Colerain, Lakota East and Lakota West rounded out the top five. Mason's Jensen, Lake, Martin, McElhenny and Wood were all named 1st Team All-GMC.
For complete results go to www.gmcsports.com. Both teams will be back at VOA next Saturday to defend their District Championship titles.