Boys cross country: Grove seeking a return trip to state meet

When talking about area boys cross country teams, the conversation always seems to begin with Columbus Grove.
The Bulldogs finished ninth at state in Division III last fall and return 10 letterwinners, including senior Colton Grothaus who finished 21st at National Trails Raceway to earn all-Ohio honors.
Expect the Bulldogs to be the team to beat in the Northwest Conference this fall as senior letterwinners Zach Shafer, Bryce Sharrits, Alex Tabler and Cody Wischmeyer also return for the Bulldogs.
Thanks to Blanchard Valley Conference new additions Hopewell-Loudon, Riverdale and North Baltimore, the conference has seven schools with cross country programs and will have a league championship meet for the first time Oct. 11 at Owens Community College.
And it will be one of the newcomers that will likely be the team to beat as Hopewell-Loudon returns several of its top runners from last year’s unit that finished second to powerful Seneca East in the Midland Athletic League and was sixth at regionals.
Seniors Chet Swartzmiller and Alex Wood were the Chieftains’ top runners last season earning all-MAL honors and placing 26th and 45th at regionals respectively. Another senior, Patric Gase, posted a sub-18 minute time for Hopewell-Loudon last year.
A couple of individuals to keep an eye on this season are from Wyandot County.
Upper Sandusky senior Dominic Solis had a solid track season for the Rams last spring and got the cross country season started with a fifth-place showing in the Upper Sandusky Icebreaker this week.
Carey sophomore Trevor Cook was the school’s first-ever qualifier for the state cross country meet when he finished third at regionals last season.
Information on teams from Mohawk and Patrick Henry was unavailable.

Ada
HEAD COACH: Jen Smalley (1st year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 9th in Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Matt Higgins, sr.; Hunter Allen, sr.; Andrew Robey, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jake Taylor, sr.; Keaton Kipley, soph.
NOTABLE: Higgins, Allen and Robey all return with experience for an Ada team light on numbers. The Bulldogs will have just five runners as they start the season.

Bluffton
HEAD COACH: Ashley Knowlton (5th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th in Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jack Marcum, jr.; Jacob Barnett, jr.; Nick Luke, jr.; Tad Steiner, soph.; Brice Metzger, soph.; Kevin Childs, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Darnell Boddie, sr.; Jeremiah Garmatter, jr.; Jacob Spencer, jr.; Noah Woodruff, soph.; Brayton Businger, fr.
NOTABLE: Six runners who competed in last year’s Northwest Conference meet return for the Pirates. Jacob Barnett, Nick Luke and Jack Marcum were Bluffton’s top three placers in the NWC Meet, and headline and strong junior class at Bluffton.

Carey
HEAD COACH: Dean Kessler (17th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 3rd in Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kyler Dyer, sr.; Zach Logsdon, sr.; Uriel Garcia, jr.; Tieler Zimmer, jr.; Sean Breitigam, soph.; Trevor Cook, soph.; Justin Schlack, soph.; Dakota Conley, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jack Yeater, fr.; Gerardo Garcia, fr.; Evan Rymer, sr.; Daniel Patton, soph.; Jevyn Pratt, soph.; Curtis DeAmicis, fr.; Chaz Ropp, fr.; Tyler Leist, fr.; Tyson Wilson, fr.; Alec Johnson, fr.
NOTABLE: It could be a big year for Carey’s cross country team this season. Top runner Trevor Cook returns after finishing 34th at state as a freshman. He is the first Blue Devil to qualify for state. The team also has eight letterwinners back from last year’s team that was ninth at the Division III regional at Tiffin.

Columbus Grove
HEAD COACH: Terry Schnipke (9th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 2nd in Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Colton Grothaus, sr.; Zach Shafer, sr.; Bryce Sharrits, sr.; Alex Tabler, sr.; Cody Wischmeyer, sr.; Phillip Vance, jr.; Ryan Price, jr.; Boone Brubaker, soph.; Preston Brubaker, soph.; Ryan Tabler, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Alex Giesige, jr.; Aason Page, jr.; Austin Sager, soph.; Jacob Otto, soph.
NOTABLE: Columbus Grove is always one of the top programs in the region. The Bulldogs return five seniors from last year’s team that finished ninth in the Division III state meet. Grothaus earned all-Ohio honors by placing 21st at state individually.

Elmwood
HEAD COACH: Chris Hailey (19th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 5th in Northern Buckeye Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Noal Corral, sr.; Josh Mathias, sr.; Matthew Wagner, sr.; Andrew Jasso, sr.; Brady Spanfellner, jr.; Zachary Spanfellner, jr.; CJ Jenkins, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Andrew Nye, sr.; Zach Muzy, sr.; Wes Ridenour, jr.; Adrian Vanderbeke, jr.; Tyler Murray, soph; Kolton Bloom, fr.; Jonah Childress, fr.
NOTABLE: The Royals qualified for regionals for the seventh straight year. With six seniors and seven letterwinners on the team, Hailey is looking for an improved finish in the conference this season.

Fostoria
HEAD COACH: Kim Cousin (11th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th in Northern Buckeye Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Aquiles Estrada, jr.; Sam Grine, jr.; Austin Struble, soph.; Hariket Bilodiya, jr.; Zach Vitt, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Elliot Hossler, jr.; Blake Bush, jr.; Caiden Twinning, fr.; Antonio Costello, fr.; Caleb Keller, fr.
NOTABLE: Numbers won’t be a problem for the Redmen this fall. They’ll feature a young team and finished last in the OHSAA Preseason Invitational to start the 2014 campaign.

Fostoria St. Wendelin
HEAD COACH: Ethan Reinhart (1st year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 8th Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nick DeHaven, soph.; Jacob Sellers, soph.; Carson Noel, soph.; Maco Gonzalez, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Patrick Castillo, sr.; Greg Ricker, soph.; Michael Noel., jr.; Nick Kelbley, soph.
NOTABLE: The Mohawks have a legitimate No. 1 runner in DeHaven who earned first-team all-league honors and qualified for regionals as a freshman. He could push for a spot at state for the team this season.

Hopewell-Loudon
HEAD COACH: Helen Coleman (2nd year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 2nd in Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Patric Gase, sr.; Collin Shaver, sr.; Chet Swartzmiller, sr.; Alex Wood, sr.; Dylan Alvarado, jr.; Garrett Hetrick, jr.; Charlie Dell, soph.; Drew Kurtz, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Jenson Nutter, sr.; Ben Kleinfelter, soph.; Nikos Portentoso, soph.; Austin Rainey, soph.; Cody Ramirez, soph.; Drew Swanagan, soph.; Ryan Alvarado, fr.; Brendan Herbert, fr.; Kyle Huth, fr.; Ben Meade, fr.; Tyler Reinhart-Anez, fr.
NOTABLE: With four returning all-conference performers, the Chieftains appear to be the team to beat for the inaugural Blanchard Valley Conference boys cross country title this season. Swartzmiller (17:04), Gase (17:48) and Wood (17:18) all posted sub-18 minute times for the Chieftains last season.

Kalida
HEAD COACH: Scott Miller (8th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Grant Zeller, sr.; Noah Verhoff, sr.; Austin Vorst, sr.; Jacob Dunn, sr.; Adam VonDerEmbse, soph.; Caleb Siebeneck, soph.; Austin Nartker, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Mitchell Kerner, sr.; Carter Moore, fr.
NOTABLE: Look for improvement from the Wildcats this season. Four of the team’s top five runners return from last year’s team that finished eighth in the district meet last fall.

Liberty-Benton
HEAD COACH: Jack Quisno (25th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ty Gleason, sr.; Tyler Vorst, sr.; Garrett Maag, sr.; Derek Gupta, jr.; Jaret Kern, jr.; Jeb Bishop, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Tyler Sarreshteh, sr.; Nathan Hendel, jr.; Thomas Koizumni, jr.; Spenser Osborne, jr.; Drew Tinman, jr.; Ethan Bednar, soph.; Ethan Frankart, soph.; Brad Hames, soph.; Remington Rosenberger, soph.; Dante Ellis, fr.
NOTABLE: Gleason has been slowed by injuries throughout his career but could have the potential for a solid season. He was a regional qualifier for the Eagles in 2011.

McComb
HEAD COACH: John Sunderman (2nd year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ryan Buck, soph.; Aaron Rode, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Seth Leader, fr.; Jacob Rider, fr.
NOTABLE: Buck and Rode are back for their second season for the Panthers and are hoping to advance to the regional meet this year.

New Riegel
HEAD COACH: Dan Beisner (14th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 10th in Midland Athletic Leagie.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Caleb Welly, jr.; Brad Zoeller, jr.; Brandon Arbogast, soph.; Bradley Eddington, soph..
TOP PROSPECTS: Dylan Weinandy, fr.; Dylan Reinhart, soph..
NOTABLE: Beisner will be looking for a young team to make huge strides this season as New Riegel transitions from the disbanded Midland Athletic League to the Sandusky River League.

North Baltimore
HEAD COACH: Brad Rowlinson (9th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 11th in Midland Athletic League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nathan Flores, sr.; Cody Gerdeman, jr.; AJ Hotaling, sr.; Tyler Stimmel, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Danny Crouse, jr.; Brice Engard, fr.; Aaron Fisher, soph; Kyle Gerdemen, fr.; Aiden Gore, fr.; Giovanni Greco, fr.; Noah Pelton, fr.; Isiah Reinhart, fr.
NOTABLE: There are a dozen boys out for cross country this fall at North Baltimore, its biggest turnout in a number of years. With six feshmen on the roster Rowlinson is excited about the future of the NB cross country program.

Ottawa-Glandorf
HEAD COACH: Brad Leis (36th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 6th in Western Buckeye League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Tyler Balbaugh, soph.; Nikko Baldozo, sr.; Brennen Boecker, jr.; Chris Hyman, sr.; Parker Siebeneck, soph.; Kordell Stover, jr.; Jonathan Turnwald, soph.; Joe Velasquez, soph.; Austin Verhoff, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Evan Barrett, jr.; Jon Basinger, sr.; DJ Laubenthal, jr.; Ian Nordhaus, sr.; Le’on Palomo, soph.; Robert Schimmoeller, jr.; Brent Siefker, fr.; Josh Wehri, soph.
NOTABLE: It’s life after Matias for the Titans this season. Matias Trampe-Kindt graduated last spring after a sensational season that saw him set a new school record (16:11), win the WBL individual title and qualify for state for the second straight year.

Ottoville
HEAD COACH: Bob Kaple (46th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ryan Kimmet, sr.; Brandon Kimmet, jr.; Trevor Fischer, soph.; Cody Kemper, soph.; Eric Von Sossan, soph..
TOP PROSPECTS: Brendon Stoner, fr.
NOTABLE: Numbers are a little light for Ottoville as coach Bob Kaple enters his 46th season in charge of the program. He expects Ryan Kimmet, Von Sossan and Kemper to compete to be the team’s top runner this season.

Pandora-Gilboa
HEAD COACH: Steve Amstutz (7th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Grant Lugibihl, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Alex Weaver, sr.; Ben Weaver, sr.; Lennart Vater, jr.; Josh Moore, jr.; Cole Schwab, fr.; Cameron Hilty, fr.
NOTABLE: Grant Lugibihl is back on the cross country course after taking 2013 off. Six newcomers mean the Rockets will be able to field a complete boys team for the first time since the sport was added at the school.

Riverdale
HEAD COACH: Kim Rall (9th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: Didn’t field a complete team.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Aaron Stuckert, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Antonio Renteria, soph.; Mitchel Matheny, sr.
NOTABLE: Stuckert is the lone returning runner for the Falcons’ three-man team. Matheny is out for the sport for the first time after having state-level success for the school on the wrestling mat during the winter.

Upper Sandusky

HEAD COACH: Ed Arnold.
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: 3rd in North Central Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Dominic Solis, sr.; Mason Derr, sr.; Jacob Herring, sr.; Brennan Bare, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Nicholas Clark; Mason Caudill; Jeffrey Young.
NOTABLE: Solis should be one of the top individuals in the area this season. He opened the 2013 campaign with a fifth place finish in the Upper Sandusky Icebreaker earlier in the week.

Van Buren
HEAD COACH: Adam Schumaker (5th year).
2013 CONFERENCE FINISH: No conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kevan Benroth, jr.; Ben Marialke, jr.; Wyatt Wiegers, jr.; Justen Stall, soph.; Noah Schumacker, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Ethan Stumpp, soph.; Brendan Ring, fr.; Josh Seitz, fr.; Drace Wilson, fr.
NOTABLE: Stall and Noah Schumacker both return after finishing in the top 30 for the Black Knights in last year’s district meet.

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