PHOTOS BY GRACE GREER
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
Even though they struggled at the beginning, Dalton High School’s cross country team powered through at the Smithville Invitational Sept. 7 to earn second place for both the boys and girls teams.
“Like all weekday meets, Smithville was tough for us,” said Dalton’s head coach Jodi Augspurger. “It’s a well-run meet, but we struggle with our motivation to perform at the same level that we do on our Saturday meets. Our starts and middle of the race efforts were minimal, so I didn’t expect much in the end. That being said, both teams surprised me and finished the race strong giving them both second place.”
Smithville (49) won the boys team race, with Dalton (50) in second. Chippewa (60) came in third, Waynedale (97) was fourth and Norton (103) finished in fifth place. Carson Steiner was Dalton’s highest individual finisher with a time of 18:45.10 that earned him third place. Jordan Muth came in sixth place at 19:07.00. Kole Miller took ninth place at 19:36.70 and Jacob Fink was 14th with a time of 20:20.90.
In the girls race, Waynedale (15) placed first. Dalton (61) was second, Smithville (66) finished third and Norton (87) came in fourth place. Dalton’s Lauren Clos placed eighth overall with a time of 23:46.00. Molly Soehnlen was 11th at 24:26.20. Ava Fivecoat came in 13th place at 24:50.80 and Aly Jackson was right behind her in 14th place with a time of 25:27.70.
Dalton competed in Seneca East’s Stars, Stripes & Lights race Sept. 11. Augspurger said this was a special race because it commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The night race, which had 30 teams in Division III, featured military vehicles around the course, a crane holding the flag at half position and a World War II bomber did a flyover. The starting gun for each race was a firework.
“The athletes felt less pressure this meet and many of them ran one of their best times of the season so far,” said Augspurger. “They really enjoyed wearing glow sticks and running under the lights with lots of athletes.”
Mount Gilead (44) won the boys Division III team race. Black River (90) came in second place, Fredericktown (130) was third, New London (142) took fourth and Seneca East (143) rounded out the top five. Dalton (233) finished seventh. Steiner was 17th overall individually with a time of 17:41.16.
Colonel Crawford (77) was first in the girls Division III team race. Dalton (100) finished second. The rest of the top five teams were Cardington-Lincoln (111) in third, Mount Gilead (139) in fourth and Gibsonburg (157) in fifth place. Emberlynn Nolt represented Dalton well in her eighth place individual finish with a time of 20:27.88. Fel-low teammate Brianna Chene-vey was 18th overall at 21:26.65.