By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — Lehman Catholic cross country coach Kyle Hermiller couldn’t have hoped for much more as Lehman hosted the NWCC meet Saturday.
The Lehman boys and girls swept the team titles.
The boys won the team title with 36 points, while Hardin Northern was second with 43.
“Our high school boys won their first meet of the year, and I am very proud that it came at the conference meet,” Hermiller said. “They really stepped it up today when it counted.”
Lehman got top five finishes from Chris Goettemoeller and Isaiah Winhoven.
Goettemoeller was third in 17:59; and Winhoven was fifth in 18:55.
Rounding out the Lehman runners were Brandon Simmons, 7, 19:03; Matt McDonald, 12, 19:44; Elias Bezy, 15, 20:18; Alex Vanderhorst, 20, 20:55; Blake Leffel, 21, 20:59; and Aaron Topp, 28, 20:05.
The girls race was just as good for Lehman.
The Lady Cavaliers won with 23 points and Hardin Northern had 33.
It also featured a showdown between Waynesfield-Goshen’s Bailie Barrington and Lehman’s Alanna O’Leary for the individual title.
Barrington won in 20:01, while O’Leary ran a season’s PR of 20:15 to finish second. O’Leary ran right with her until Barrington pulled away in the last mile.
“Coach (Kyle Hermiller) has really been pushing me to run a faster second mile,” O’Leary said. “Coach had told me about her (Bailie Barrington) and I saw her at state track last year. She ran the 800 and I was running sprints. So, I figured (it was going to be between them).”
So did Hermiller. But, he was happy with the races both O’Leary and Maria Schmiesing, who finished third in 20:43, ran for Lehman.
“We knew Alanna (O’Leary) would have her first real one-on-one race with Bailie (Barrington),” Hermiller said. “Both girls made their moves on the course, and while Bailie came out ahead today, I’m very happy with how Alanna and Maria (Schmiesing) are running as we come to districts week.”
So, is O’Leary. After qualifying for state as a freshman, she just missed last year.
“Last year I had some breathing issues and different things that set me back,” O’Leary said. “Coach (Kyle Hermiller) has really helped me with that. I am excited about the time I ran today. And we haven’t completely tapered back yet. It is (motivation to get back to state) and everything is going great right now.”
Rounding out the Lehman runners were Theresa Flood, 10, 24:24; Caitlin Swallow, 11, 24:45; Leah Peoples, 15, 28:07; and Miriam Bezy, 18, 29:39.
“The combined boys and girls junior high race gave a lot of our runners a chance to race against their teammates, which I think helped foster good competition,” Hermiller said. “In the last two weeks, 16 of our 21 runners have achieved personal best times, and the other five have gotten season best times. So I think as a whole, we are peaking at the right time of the season and are excited for districts on Saturday.”
After a day that included a sweep of the NWCC titles.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.