By Josh Brown
PIQUA — With the Miami County Championships — the yearly sign that the conference and postseason are just around the corner — barely more than two weeks away, the area’s cross country teams met at Piqua Country Club Wednesday night for a hard two-mile workout.
And with an on-and-off rain made some of the races go easier than others, the local athletes had some mixed results.
Tippecanoe’s boys won as a team in the final race of the night at the Piqua Invitational Wednesday, with sophomore Bryce Conley finishing second to Butler’s Long Lin individually. And in the girls race, Tippecanoe’s Katie Taylor finished third individually as the Red Devils finished second in the team standings to a stacked Minster squad.
Tippecanoe’s boys won the meet with 35 points, edging out runner-up Butler’s 37. Conley was the individual runner-up in 10:20.4, Ethan Sinning was fifth (10:40.2), Austin Rogers was seventh (10:54.1), Ethan Heitkamp was ninth (10:59.3), Brennan Larned was 12th (11:13.6), Tristan Spencer was 14th (11:26.8) and Noah Ballard was 15th (11:28).
Milton-Union was third with 56 points. Shannon Milnickel led the way in third (10:25.9), Will Brock was sixth (10:51.2), Tristen Persinger was 10th (11:00.1), Chris Miller was 16th (11:28.4), Harrison Litton was 25th (11:54.4), Ryan Moore was 32nd (12:06.2) and Cayden Galentine was 39th (12:13.3).
Troy was fourth with 121 points. Andy Smith led the Trojans in 20th (11:35.6), Seth Plantz was 27th (11:58.8), Austin Zonner was 30th (12:03.7), Logan Huth was 38th (12:13.2), James Marshall was 48th (12:28.6), Greg Smith was 64th (13:12.9) and Jacob Sweeney was 70th (13:27.9).
“It was great weather to race, with the temperature low — and luckily the rain held off,” Troy boys coach Phil Matthews said. “We told the guys to go out and race hard and not treat this as a regular 5K. They needed to push themselves harder to help their fitness down the road for big races in October.
“Seth Plantz had a nice run tonight, and freshman James Marshall continues to improve as he gets more miles under his belt.”
The conditions weren’t as great earlier in the night, as the girls ran through a constant drizzle. Still, there were some quality performances.
On the girls side, Tippecanoe finished second as a team with 48 points to Minster’s 21. Katie Taylor led the way in third (12:16.8), Jillian Brown was seventh (12:49.3), Stephanie Fink was 10th (12:54.6), Laura Fink was 11th (12:58.4), Katie Reeder was 20th (13:51.7), Elise Moore was 26th (14:14.6) and Reece Angell was 27th (14:15.5).
Milton-Union finished third with 96 points. Brianna Collins was 18th (13:44.1), Kyli Parsons was 19th (13:46.5), Kiley Jacobe was 23rd (13:57.2), Ally Lyons was 24th (14:01.2), Megan Trittschuh was 28th (14:22.8), Micah Tracy was 33rd (14:52) and Kelsie Tomlinson was 40th (15:10.1).
The Troy girls team — which was the state runner-up last season —has yet to run a race at full strength this season, but the Trojans took one big step towards full strength Wednesday.
Kate Pence — who has been out all season with an injury — ran her first race of the year Wednesday night, leading the team with a 15th-place finish (13:24.6).
“Mentally, it was tough,” Pence said of not being able to run yet this season. “I kind of liked it, though, because I’ve just been focusing on getting back in shape and then going and cheering on my teammates on the weekends. Finally being back feels good, but at the same time I’m not fully in race shape yet.
“It’s going to be challenging. I definitely knew I wasn’t in race shape. I started out the first 400 thinking this is okay, and then I saw the mile mark and was like ‘I’m not even at 1K yet?’ I was pretty happy with my time — I knew it wasn’t going to be a PR or anything.”
As a team, Troy finished fourth with 99 points. Megan Myers was right behind Pence in 16th (13:31.7), Hannah Markeson was 21st (13:56), Chloe Klawon was 30th (14:31.7), Madi Rougier was 38th (15:01.7), Dinah Gigandet was 39th (15:06.3) and Jaclyn Smith was 46th (15:23.6).
It was the second straight meet that the Trojans did not run the majority of their lineup — at Saturday’s Troy Invitational, the team held out its top five runners. Wednesday night, the top three — Morgan Gigandet, Olivia Tyre and Emma Shigley — did not race.
“For our team, the purpose of the meet was to work on developing some team depth, close time gaps and work on being more aggressive with a shorter race distance,” Troy girls coach Kevin Alexander said. “To be honest, results were mixed. Some ladies excelled, but there is still much work that needs to be done.
“Individual accountability and accountability to the team will be emphasized. In order to improve, everyone must push one another harder in practice and competition the next few weeks. But the girls are looking forward to a big weekend ahead at the Eaton and Trinity Invitationals.”
* Girls Soccer
West Carrollton 0
TIPP CITY — Since dropping its season opener, the Tippecanoe girls soccer team has been on a roll.
Wednesday night, that continued as the Red Devils finished the crossover portion of Greater Western Ohio Conference American League play by posting its seventh straight shutout in a 7-0 victory over West Carrollton at Tipp City Park.
Lauren Weimer had two goals and an assist, Lauren Lester had a pair of goals and Payton Willis Hunter McKinney each had a goal and an assist to lead the Red Devils (7-1, 5-0 GWOC American North Division). Lauren Robbins added a goal and Hannah Rittenhouse and Hannah Kramer each had an assist.
Tippecanoe begins GWOC American North play Saturday at Sidney.
Other scores: Piqua (4-4, 3-2) 8, Stebbins 1.
VANDALIA — The Tippecanoe volleyball team finished its first run through Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play in thrilling fashion Wednesday night, defeating Butler in five games on the road, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19, 24-26, 15-11.
Brooke Aselage had 15 kills and two aces, Natalie Seeman had 14 kills, Rachel Wildermuth had 12 kills and eight blocks and Calie Stewart had 12 kills and three blocks to lead the offense. Corrin Siefring added two blocks and 22 digs, Audrey Trick had 14 digs and two aces and Isabel Crow had 48 assists.
“After going back and forth in the first three sets, we had match point at 24-23, but (an error), a block and a kill by Butler tied the match,” Tippecanoe coach Howard Garcia said. “Butler went up 10-9, but a great kill by Seeman tied it, and we went on a run to close it with a couple of blocks by Wildermuth and a left-side kill by Aselage.
“We won the kills battle 61-41 but lost the unforced errors battle 56-34. Still a good win over a very improved Butler team.”
* Girls Golf
Miami East 210
VANDALIA — The Miami East girls golf team dropped a match at Cassel Hills Wednesday to Tippecanoe, falling 187-210.
Emily Rowley shot 49 to lead the Vikings (7-4), Paige Lawson and Kearsten Kirby both shot 53, Maci Krites shot 55, Marissa Kearns shot 56 and Cadence Gross shot 80.
* Boys Golf
Miami East 176,
PIQUA — Covington’s Andrew Slusher was medalist, missing the Cross County Conference record by only one stroke, but the Miami East Vikings played steady throughout the lineup to hold on for a 176-177 victory Wednesday at Echo Hills.
Zac Johnson and Sam Zapadaka both shot 43 for Miami East, Cooper Elleman shot 44, Austin Parsons shot 46, Jack Runner shot 55 and Keegan Mahaney shot 62.
Slusher led all scorers with a 34 for the Buccaneers, Jack Shell shot 45, Grant Humphrey shot 47, Dylan Lucas shot 51, Thomas Kuether shot 55 and David McCool shot 61.
Preble Shawnee 215
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union picked up a Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division victory Wednesday, defeating Preble Shawnee 184-215.
Justin Brown was medalist with a 44, Aaron Brown shot 45, Hayden Davidson shot 47 and Nick Brumbaugh shot 48.
Milton-Union’s home match against Northmont was rained out, with no makeup date immediately set. Lehman’s match at Lima Shawnee was also postponed and will be made up on Sept. 20.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.