By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Entering the season, Troy girls cross country coach Kevin Alexander said this year would be the Dinah Gigandet show.
Monday night was the season premiere.
The Troy junior — a two-time state qualifier — put her offseason training’s results on display Monday night at Troy’s Lost Creek Invitational, coasting to an easy victory in the girls race and leading the young Trojans to a runner-up finish in the team standings. And on the boys side, Piqua’s Nolan Campbell was the individual runner-up, giving the Indians the boost they needed to defeat Wayne for the team title.
Conditions were good for the race in the evening, with the heat and humidity partially cancelled out by the threat of rain most of the night. But with no lightning flashes in the sky and no actual rain, all of the races went off without a hitch — with the skies only opening up directly after the completion of the final race of the night.
For Gigandet, 2019 is looking to be a big season.
“This is just episode No. 1 of hopefully many,” Alexander said. “And we knew that. In training, she’s ready to go. She’s at a different level than even she was during last cross country and track seasons. And she was a state qualifier — she’s already an incredible runner, but she’s just gone up to a completely different level.”
“Tonight felt good,” Gigandet said. “The competition pushed me a lot. This summer, I’ve been running my best every day, and now I’m seeing results that make me really happy.”
Gigandet won the race — a 3K to start the season, rather than the typical 5Ks the teams will be seeing throughout the year — in 11:13.7. Springfield Shawnee’s Audrey DeSantis was the runner-up in 11:29.8.
Gigandet was on the state-qualifying Trojan team during her freshman season in 2017, when her older sister Morgan won a state championship. Last year during her sophomore year, Gigandet was one of three Trojans to qualify for the state meet as an individual along with four-time state qualifier and graduate Olivia Tyre and then-freshman Emma Kennett.
“My goal is to go to state and place, and hopefully the team makes it to state, too,” Gigandet said. “The big goal is to go as a team.”
For that to happen, work needs to be done.
The Trojans — running without the sophomore Kennett, who is out to start the year with an offseason injury — finished second behind Springfield Shawnee, with the Braves winning with 25 points and Troy scoring 51. The Braves put four runners into the top seven before the next Troy runner crossed the finish line to solidify their victory.
For Troy, Renee Kovacs finished eighth (12:29.6), Hallie Frigge was 12th (13:06.7), Millie Peltier was 13th (13:08.6) and Emma Marlow was 18th (13:44.3).
“Team-wise, Shawnee definitely got us today. Our inexperience showed,” Alexander said. “We are very youthful, very inexperienced, and a whole lot of these younger runners probably got an eye opener tonight. There’s a difference between running in junior high and high school in terms of competition, and hopefully this gives them the motivation to work hard in practice the next few weeks and get up to the level where they probably can and should be.”
Piqua’s girls finished third with 73 points. Cassie Schrubb was fifth (11:58.6) and Ana Adams was sixth (12:10.7) to lead the way, Jana Wagner was 16th (13:33.4), Laurynn Barr was 30th (14:15.1) and Alivia Knorr-Sullivan was 31st (14:17.9).
Milton-Union’s girls finished fourth with 83 points. Rachel Thompson was 10th (12:44.5) and Sophie Meredith was 11th (12:47.5) to lead the way, Ally Lyons was 14th (13:22.4), Micah Tracy was 20th (13:51.1) and Maddie Stasiak was 39th (14:39).
Jewel Myers led Troy Christian’s girls, who did not field a team, in 38th place (14:38.9).
On the boys side, Piqua’s Nolan Campbell led the Indians to the team title with a second-place finish as an individual, finishing in 9:54.6 behind only Springfield Shawnee’s Alex Dyar’s 9:44. As a team, Piqua scored 66 points to edge Wayne’s 75.
Mitch Fletcher also turned in a top-10 finish, placing ninth (10:40.7), Jesse Furman was 13th (10:58.2), Caven Wiles was 15th (11:03.8) and Cael Barr was 29th (11:51.9).
Troy’s boys finished third with 95 points.
Senior Austin Zonner led the Trojans by finishing third (9:57.4), Will Schaefer was sixth (10:22.7), Gavin Hutchinson was 27th (11:44.1), Alex Trimble was 31st (11:57.7) and Matthew Spayde was 33rd (12:07.4).
“I was happy with the way the guys ran,” Troy boys coach Phil Matthews said. “They finished about where we expected them to. It was good to give them race conditions — they’ve been running in the mornings when it’s nice and cool, so it was good to get exposed to the heat and humidity. They went out and raced hard, which is what we want to see. They looked really good, and we’re definitely excited to see how they do Friday (at the Moeller Invitational).”
Milton-Union’s boys finished fifth with 108 points. Tristan Persinger led the way in fifth (10:16.1), Eric Trittschuh was seventh (10:26.6), Kyle Bostick was 20th (11:28.1), Cayden Galentine was 43rd (12:50.8) and John Ritchey was 50th (13:24).
Troy Christian’s boys finished sixth with 116 points. Robert Ventura was fourth (10:12.7) to lead the way, Aiden Tkach was 17th (11:13.8), Nate Hunnicutt was 19th (11:21.5), Conner Rogers was 46th (13:10.4) and Kyle Sebor was 49th (13:18.9).
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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