Findlay’s Collette Seager, left, runs with Fremont Ross’ McKela Elder midway through Saturday’s Van Buren Invitational at Owens Community College. Seager was fifth individually and led Findlay to the girls team championship. (Photo by Jamie Baker)

By JAMIE BAKER
STAFF WRITER

During last year’s Van Buren Invitational, Findlay High School’s Colette Seager was probably getting ready for a Saturday soccer practice.

Fast forward one year, and Seager was leading the FHS girls cross country squad to a team championship.

The Findlay sophomore, the school’s first two-sport fall athlete in more than a decade, finished fifth individually in the girls race to lead the Trojans to the team crown in Saturday’s Van Buren Invitational at Owens Community College’s Findlay Campus.

Seager, who is also a member of the FHS varsity girls soccer team, was the first Findlay runner to cross the finish line Saturday as she clocked a time of 20:35.43.

Top 10 showings from fellow sophomores Allie Ernst (7th, 20:56.6) and Karlee Dittman (9th, 20:56.6), helped the Trojans outscore Anthony Wayne 51-75 for the girls crown, even without No. 1 runner Amanda Tremains, who dropped out midway through the race.

According to Findlay High School cross country coach Mark Gleason, Ryan Sottoway was the last FHS athlete to double up in the fall back in 2005. A two-time all-Ohio runner in the 800-meter run, Sottoway ran a few cross country races as a senior in 2005 while also earning all-Ohio honors for the football team as a defensive back.

Seager ran cross country in junior high and found that she missed competing in the sport as a freshman. She wanted to compete in both, and Findlay girls soccer coach Jon Hayfield and Gleason agreed to let Seager compete in two sports this fall.

“Last year, I missed it so much. I asked my soccer coach if he’d be open to letting me try it out and he said yes. I talked to the cross country coach and everyone welcomed me to the team. It’s been a great experience so far,” Seager said.

“I go to soccer practice, and if we have an easy practice, I try to run on my own and go to the cross country speed workouts we have.”

Still, she was probably a little surprised to be running at the front of a talented pack of FHS girls runners on Saturday.

“Today wasn’t my PR time, but it is definitely the highest place I’ve gotten this year. Each meet is different, I wasn’t expecting this,” Seager said.

“It does kind of raise my expectations with how well I ran today.”

Lindsay Cassata (14th, 21:46.57) and Franki Bejarano (18th, 22:12.58) also finished in the top 20 as they completed the scoring for the Trojans.

Here are some other nuggets from Saturday’s meet:

REUILLE RULES: Findlay High School junior Luke Reuille finished eighth individually in a time of 17:47.08 to lead a solid performance by the Trojans’ boys team.

“I have been running with my teammate Cole Sprague. He’s a great runner and I try to stay with him. About halfway through the race, I felt pretty good and I made my move. I feel like I ran pretty well,” Reuille said.

Defending Three Rivers Athletic Conference champ Toledo Whitmer outscored the Trojans 44-75 for the boys team crown.

Sprague (14th, 18:02.07), Preston Perkins (16th, 18:02.97), Tyler Bihn (18th, 18:06.34), and Greg Konecny (19th, 18:06.57) also had top 20 finishes for FHS.

In three weeks, the Trojans are hoping they’ll be able to step up and chase down Whitmer at the TRAC championship meet.

“I think it’s going to come down to us wanting it more than them. We definitely have the guys capable of competing with them,” Reuille said. “We just have to want to win the league a little more than they do.”

REINHART UP FRONT: Carey sophomore Sarah Reinhart did Saturday what she frequently does — runs with the lead pack.

A returning all-Ohioan, Reinhart finished third in a time of 19:46.32, staying with champion Ana Karmol of Anthony Wayne and second place Megan Good of Toledo Whitmer for most of the way. The fourth place runner, Fremont Ross’ McKela Elder, was 44 seconds behind Reinhart.

Reinhart helped the Blue Devils finish third in the girls team standings with 115 points.

Another fine performance, of course. But Reinhart has other goals in mind as the season grinds down toward conference meets and the postseason.

“I thought I was going fast enough, but I think the heat and lack of breeze affected everyone today,” Reinhart said. “I really wanted to break into the 18s today and I wasn’t close. That’s my goal this season, to break 19-flat. Hopefully, I can get it done by the end of the year.”

BACK ON COURSE: Ethan Chambers was back on the course he competed on many times in the past. He has changed one purple and gold uniform for another, though.

A state qualifier for Leipsic last season, Chambers competed on the Owens course for Maumee this season.

His stepfather changed jobs and the family moved to the Toledo area during the summer. Chambers was 21st for the Panthers in a time of 18:08.7.

“It’s been a little different because I haven’t had anyone to train with before really, and now I do at Maumee,” Chambers said. “I was really excited to come back here today and see everyone I know from Leipsic and race with them. It was a fun race.”

Chambers still isn’t where he wants to be after a leg injury suffered during track season derailed most of his summer training.

“I couldn’t run for a couple of months this summer and now I’m just starting to feel like I’m back,” he said. “I want to go to state again, some changes will have to me made somewhere. Some things just aren’t working right now. We’re going to try and figure it out and fix it.”

HOME COOKIN’: It was a good day for the host Black Knights. The girls team, led by Justine Hunt (16th, 21:48.99) and Ella Webster (17th, 21:59.42), were fifth in the girls team race.

FLYING FALCONS: A pair of Riverdale runners just missed finishing in the top 10.

In the boys race, Eli Weber was 11th for the Falcons with a time of 17:55.5. Juleigha Collier ended up 12th in the girls race in 21:40.53.

Varsity Races

BOYS TEAM STANDINGS

1, Toledo Whitmer 44. 2, Findlay 75. 3, Fremont Ross 92. 4, Anthony Wayne 119. 5, Toledo St. Francis 139. 6, Maumee 218. 7, Edgerton 240. 8, Van Buren 260. 9, Kalida 283. 10, Oak Harbor 299. 11, Rossford 324. 12, Leipsic 345. 13, Carey 353. 14, Elmwood 361. 15, Ayersville 371. 16, Riverdale 408. 17, Hardin Northern 439. 18, McComb 19:46.87. 19, Cory-Rawson 563. 20, Delphos St. John’s, Miller City, Toledo Central Catholic NTS.

WINNER & AREA BOYS TOP 50 FINISHES

1, Isaac Burkart (Toledo Whitmer) 16:49.98. 8, Luke Reuille (Fin) 17:47.08. 11, Eli Weber (Riv) 17:55.5. 14, Cole Sprague (Fin) 18:02.07. 15, Alex Hernandez (Leip) 18:02.67. 16, Preston Perkins (Fin) 18:02.79. 18, Tyler Bihn (Fin) 18:06.34. 19, Greg Konecny (Fin) 18:06.57. 23, Ty Cordonnier (Fin) 18:11.52. 26, Carl Rupp (Fin) 18:15.8. 30, Zed Wilson (Fin) 18:17.14. 34, Adam Hellman (Fin) 18:23.32. 35, Aiden Gatchel (HN) 18:25.74. 37, Hudson Sendelbach (VB) 18:29.83. 38, Carlos Zaragosa (Fin) 18:30.32.

GIRLS TEAM STANDINGS

1, Findlay 51. 2, Anthony Wayne 75. 3, Carey 115. 4, Fremont Ross 119. 5, Van Buren 120. 6, Delphos St. John’s 147. 7, Toledo Whitmer 167. 8, Edgerton 188. 9, Oak Harbor 234. 10, Maumee 247. 11, Elmwood 282. 12, Leipsic 349. 13, Rossford 384. 14, Toledo Central Catholic, Hardin Northern, Toledo Start, Ayersville, Riverdale, Kalida NTS.

WINNER & AREA GIRLS TOP 50 FINISHES

1, Ana Karmol (Anthony Wayne) 19:32.54. 3, Sarah Reinhart (Car) 19:46.32. 5, Colette Seager (Fin) 20:35.43. 7, Alli Ernst (Fin) 20:56.60. 9, Karlee Dittman (Fin) 21:20.29. 12, Juleigha Collier (Riv) 21:40.53. 14, Lindsey Cassata (Fin) 21:46.57. 16, Justine Hunt (VB) 21:48.99. 17, Ella Webster (VB) 21:59.42. 18, Franki Bejarano (Fin) 22:12.58. 19, Juliana Boes (Car) 22:26.97. 21, Nina Zibbel (Elm) 22:31.93. 23, Nellie Bianchi (Car) 22:52.85. 24, Anne Traver (Fin) 22:56.86. 25, Amber Pisarsky (VB) 23:36.41. 26, Larkin Warner (Fin) 23:09.45. 31, Megan Pisarsky (VB) 23:36.41. 32, Elizabeth Laird (Fin) 23:39.25. 35, Megan Cassata (Fin) 23:41.40. 37, Abby Allison (Car) 23:51.95. 39, Sami Dong (Fin) 23:57.06. 41, Alicia Casselman (VB) 24:04.91. 44, Addystin Lykins (Car) 24:11:24. 47, Makena Barnes (Riv) 24:22.81. 48, Isa Renteria (Riv) 23:24.28.

Junior High Races

BOYS TEAM STANDINGS

1, Findlay 73. 2, Ayersville 77. 3, Liberty-Benton 122. 4, Delphos St. John’s 122. 5, Toledo Washington 140. 6, Fremont 147. 7, Van Buren 152. 8, Toledo St. Francis 191. 9, Carey 229. 10, Oak Harbor 230. 11, Elmwood 234. 12, Edgerton 266. 13, Leipsic, Kalida, Hardin Northern, McComb, Rossford, Riverdale NTS.

GIRLS TEAM STANDINGS

1, Toledo Washington 31. 2, Kalida 63. 3, Delphos St. John’s 76. 4, Findlay 133. 5, Oak Harbor 138. 6, Fremont 140. 7, Ayersville 195. 8, Liberty-Benton 203. 9, Hardin Northern 227. 10, Rossford 265. 11, Elmwood, Carey, Leipsic, Riverdale Van Buren, Edgerton & McComb NTS.

Baker, 419-427-8409
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