Cross country state follow up


The cross country teams performed extremely well at the state meet this past weekend!

After making it to the State Meet, the runners could not contain their excitement, and looked forward to racing on Saturday November 2. 

All of the runners, alternates, and coaches shared the same buzz of anticipation going into the meet, but more importantly, their confidence showed through. 

Coach Grisdale gives insight on how both teams performed: “It was awesome, I thought. I really felt like our kids understood what we were asking them to do and executed the game plan really really well.”

Although the cross country team did amazing at the meet, it could not have been easy, as all of the runners there had to have the same drive to win. 

“The state meet is so different because the caliber of athletes is different from any other race that you’re a part of. Where everybody is really really fast, and because of that, the race just goes out crazy fast, and it’s so hard to contain yourself because you want to go out fast, and you just get pulled without even realizing it because there’s so much adrenaline, so it’s really hard to contain yourself. But, our kids did an amazing job of doing that,” Coach Grisdale said.

The team is certainly pleased with their results, as the girls won sixth in the state, and the boys won ninth!  

Coach Grisdale had positive feedback about the boys race: “Our boys team-one mile in- was actually in 19th out of 20 places, so they understood what they were supposed to do; they stayed composed. And then, by the two mile mark, they were still in 13th place, and then by the end, they finished 9th, so they just really moved up through the pack, and you could see that with each individual runner. Just not going out too fast, but really staying composed and then just doing what they needed to and working really hard for the team.”

The girls team, however, kept a more steady placing throughout the race. 

“Our girls were were actually stuck in 7th for the longest time. And then all of a sudden, with less than a half mile left, they moved their place up, and they almost caught the next team ahead; they were only four points behind the next team ahead, so they were really close to getting top five in the state, but top 6 is amazing!” Coach Grisdale states. 

The State Meet was the last meet for the Cross Country Seniors, and they are all very happy with their performance. 

Geno Gallo says that “I think it went really well; it was a good end to the season and my career.”

Agreeing with Gallo, is Sydney Norris, stating that “it went pretty good overall because of how we placed. We placed sixth!” 

The seniors agree that the state meet was a great place to end their high school cross country careers. 

“It went great; I finished off the season with a PR which, considering the course, was considerably more flat than Boardman, which was the last one, and it personally went great,” Dante Parente states. 

Gianna Stanich offers similar insights.

Stanich said,  “The state meet was really fun. It was cool placing sixth, only four points away from fifth, because we were ceded twelfth going into that race, so it was definitely a cool experience because of that; we all worked hard.” 

Jet Bailey said,  “I did not run that great as an individual, but at the end, it was just for the team. That was my biggest goal this season was to make states, so just getting there was a great experience.”

The team went to the State Meet, confidently, and very excited. The team also had hopes and goals for their final meet. 

Coach Grisdale says that some of the goals were very hard to achieve, but they definitely went above and beyond expectations. 

I think just making it there was so special, that honestly we were happy just to be there. But we wanted more. We thought that Top 10 was reasonable, Top 8 was ambitious, so we went with the ambitious goal of Top 8, and the guys were right there, and the girls did it, so we were definitely very pleased with the results,” Coach Grisdale said.

Team members shared similar sentiments about placing. 

Gallo said, “As a team we were really just hoping to go to states, so to make it to the meet at all was really a huge success on our part. We were hoping to get fifth place as a team, but ninth place in the state of Ohio definitely isn’t something to be upset about.” 

Parente states that “getting there with the team itself, and not as an individual pretty much satisfied my goal that I wanted to complete.” 

Norris and Stanich agree that their hopes for the team were fulfilled.

Stanich said that “making it to state for the first time was really cool, making it as a team rather than an individual.”

“Tiffin is really where I accomplished my personal goal of 16:40. That’s crazy for me. I’m really happy with the team, being NE8 champs, district champs, and state qualifiers, and third place in the region, there’s nothing else I could ask for,” said Bailey. 

As the State Meet was the last meet for the seniors in their high school cross country season, they offer a few last statements and insights. 

Norris simply said, “It was really fun!” 

In agreement with Norris, is Stanich, who says that “this was definitely the most fun I’ve had this cross country season, out of all mine in high school. And just getting to know everyone, and working hard with them at practice was really fun.”

Bailey said that  “the team still did pretty well, being ninth in the whole state, in division two is still crazy even now to think about.”

Parente offers advice about trying new sports.

Just do what you want for sports. I mean it could be anything; it could be something you may not expect, but try anything. See what sticks and what doesn’t,” says Parente, who is a second year cross country runner, and had previously played soccer. 

As the senior cross country team runners complete their last meet of their high school career, Coach Grisdale looks to the future of cross country. 

Coach Grisdale said, “The seniors really left their mark, and obviously, it’s always hard to replace seniors anyway, but especially the seniors that have made such a big impression. But, I really think the future is still bright, I think so many of our underclassmen have learned from the experience, and I think they are very motivated. I was driving after one of our practices on a really rainy night, and I saw a sixth grader out running on the sidewalk! So, I think that there’s just hope for the future because people are starting to see that if you run, you get better running. If you get better running, you can have really good things happen to you in a sport like cross country, and I think our teams have really sent that message by being out.”

Coach Grisdale also offers her excitement for the high school team next year, as runner, Halle Sebest moves from Junior to Senior year in 2020. 

Sebest was the Player of the Year in the conference and was also Poland’s only All-Ohio Runner and placed Top 30 in the State meet.

Sebest said that the state meet “went really well. I’m glad that we placed sixth, and we were ranked like twelfth, but we obviously got better than that, so I’m happy about that. I think that everyone did well, and everyone ran hard pushed their all.” 

For the next season, Sebest has many hopes and goals to further herself as a runner and maintain a continuation of her success during her senior year. 

“I hope to break my PR and to just keep getting low 18:00’s, and I hope that our team can make it to state again, and we’re all up there and close, in places and races,” said Sebest.

Just like the coaches, the Sebest is sad to see the seniors go. 

Sebest states, “All of us got close this year, and I really love the girls; I’m going to miss the seniors.”

Although the cross country seniors will graduate, they have left a legacy that will carry on in cross country history throughout the years. The cross country senior class of 2020 will remain in everyone’s minds as they push themselves to live up to their legacy. 

Coach Grisdale ends with statement: “Thank you to all the runners; this was a really fun season, and it’s really cool to be a part of something so special.”

All of the seniors have graduation on their minds, but Gallo, who has two siblings to carry out his cross country legacy leaves his season with one reminder: “Dogs to State 2020!”