By David Fong
CLAYTON — Olivia Tyre wasn’t going to let the streak end on her watch.
Tyre — one of only two seniors running for the Troy girls cross country team Saturday at the Greater Western Ohio Conference Championships at Northmont High School — knew how much the race meant to her teammates, her coaches and all of the runners who had come before her.
She wasn’t going to let the trophy go without a fight.
“I definitely felt like there was a little more pressure in this race,” said Tyre, who helped lead the Troy girls to their 11th GWOC North title in a row Saturday. Tyre is the lone Trojan on this year’s team to have been a part of four GWOC North title teams. “This is very satisfying, to be able to win it all four years. It’s a tradition. It’s something we talk about a lot.”
Tippecanoe certainly made Troy work for its 11th title, as the Trojans won the North by just five points, its smallest margin of victory during the streak. Troy finished with 36 points, while Tippecanoe wasn’t far behind with 41 points. In the overall GWOC standings, the Trojans finished fourth behind Beavercreek, Centerville and Springboro, while Tippecanoe finished fifth.
Troy’s top three runners placed first, second and third in the North. Leading the way was freshman Emma Kennett, who won the North and finished fifth overall (18:18.7). After Tyre, sophomore Dinah Gigandet was third in the North and 10th overall (19:04.4).
“It felt pretty good,” Kennett said of winning the North individual title. “I had a feeling I would run pretty good today because of the weather. I love it when it’s cold. The colder, the better.”
Also for the Trojans, Katie Castaneda was 48th overall (20:49.3), Renee Kovacs was 52nd (20:55.7), Hannah Markeson was 55th (21:05.6) and Ella Kirkpatrick was 85th (24:06.7).
Not only did Troy win its 11th GWOC North title in a row, but it also won the final GWOC North title. Next year, Troy — along with nine other schools — will be leaving the GWOC to form the Miami Valley League. Troy girls coach Kevin Alexander said winning the North one final time made the victory that much sweeter.
“I’m not going to lie, it feels awesome to be leaving with the trophy one final time,” Alexander said. “Every year, we always talk about how the past is in the past and try to focus on the present, but I think our girls knew what we had done in the past. They wanted to end it by winning the last GWOC North title.
“This one was probably the toughest one, because Tipp is so good. They’ve got so much depth. We knew this was going to be tough because they’ve got an outstanding time. I’ll be honest, I’m glad we don’t have to see them again the rest of the year.”
Tippecanoe was led by Katie Taylor, who finished 17th overall (19:36.6). Kaili Titley was 21st (19:49.2), Mackenzie Dix was 30th (20:12.5), Jillian Brown was 32nd (20:15.8), Tori Prenger was 41st (20:36.5), Annie Martino was 45th (20:43.6) and Annie Sinning was 51st (20:53.8).
“I was very happy with how our girls ran,” Tippecanoe coach Byron Kimmel said. “This was easily our best race this year. Our back end ran really well; we saw some huge drops in time.”
Tippecanoe boys first
The boys race was far less dramatic than the girls, as the Tippecanoe boys finished well ahead of Butler. Troy finished third. In the overall GWOC race, Tippecanoe was sixth, Butler was eighth and Troy was ninth.
Leading the way for the Red Devils was Bryce Conley, who won the North and finished sixth overall in the GWOC in 16:09.3, just two seconds off his personal best.
“It’s alright; it still isn’t my PR,” Conley said. “It feels pretty good. I know Butler has been targeting us and we were able to beat them. I felt like I ran pretty good, but I was hoping to run a sub-16 (minutes). I’m always more concerned about my times than how I place.”
Also for the Red Devils, Brennan Larned was 28th overall (16:54.3), Ethan Heitkamp was 37th (17:04.2), Trenton Brown was 39th (17:07.4), Allan Murray was 41st (17:08.4), Austin Rogers was 49th (17:23.2) and Brayden Underwood was 67th (18:00.8).
“I was very pleased with our boys,” Kimmel said. “We’ve really been working them hard the past few weeks, because we believe we are good enough and deep enough to handle it. To have five guys go under 17:10 bodes well for our postseason run. Bryce ran really well. He’s still getting his legs underneath him.”
The Troy boys were led by freshman Braden Coate, who was 16th overall (16:41.0). Josh Lovitt was 44th (17:12.8), Austin Zonner was 46th (17:17.2), Will Schaefer was 63rd (17:42.0), Seth Plantz was 73rd (18:04.3), Logan Huth was 74th (18:06.1) and Keegan Potts was 74th (18:07.9).
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong