By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
WEST MILTON — Dinah Gigandet was happy to have her chance to shine.
Bryce Conley was just glad to be healthy.
Troy’s Gigandet and Tippecanoe’s Conley both ran impressive races, running away with the individual wins and leading their respective teams to victories as the Red Devil boys coasted and the Trojans held off Tippecanoe by four points to win at the Miami County Championships cross country meet Saturday at Milton-Union High School.
Gigandet, who wasn’t happy with her performance at last week’s Centerville Night Lights championship race, ran a personal best and won her first County meet title in 18:41.7. She was fourth last year as a sophomore, and her freshman year she finished 24th as sister Morgan Gigandet won it in her senior year.
“It feels really cool. It’s awesome,” Gigandet said of winning the race. “My goal was to PR and to win, and my PR before was 18:44.”
“Dinah ran really well,” Troy girls coach Kevin Alexander said. “By her standards, she had a disappointing week last week, and it was nice to get a good rebound. What she’s doing in workouts, she’s ready to rip one. We just need the right day, the right weather, the right competition. But she had a nice rebound race.”
Emma Kennett finished sixth in 20:09.4, Renee Kovacs was seventh in 20:16.3, Millie Peltier was ninth in 20:30 and Emma Marlow was 10th in 20:33.3 to give the Trojans 29 points — just enough to stay ahead of league rival Tippecanoe in a preview of the Miami Valley League race, which is in two weeks.
“Our freshman girls today, they’re learning each week, but I think they really gained some today. Millie and Emma really ran great. They’re getting closer to Renee, who is a steady presence. And the closer they can get to her, the better team results we’ll have — because we have to do it by pack.
“We knew today would be close, and we know the conference meet in two weeks will be close. Tipp is well coached, and they have a solid group of girls. If our girls can learn to stay in a tight pack … and they’re starting to get it.”
“I feel good, and I think our team can have a shot at winning the conference,” Gigandet said. “That’s our goal.”
The Red Devils were second with 33 points. Shelby Hept was the individual runner-up behind Gigandet in 19:49, Alex Foster was fourth (20:00.4), Mackenzie Dix was eighth (20:17.8), Annie Sinning was 11th (20:55.6) and Tori Prenger was 12th (20:56.9).
Piqua was third with 107 points. Cassie Schrubb was fifth (20:05.3), Ana Adams was 15th (21:15.5), Jana Wagner was 27th (22:35.9), Alivia Knorr-Sullivan was 42nd (23:23.4) and Laurynn Barr was 50th (23:57.2).
Milton-Union was fourth with 112 points. Sophie Meredith finished 17th (21:21.8), Ally Lyons was 19th (21:49.4), Rachel Thompson was 25th (22:16.7), Micah Tracy was 34th (22:59.9) and Maddie Stasiak was 41st (23:22.1).
Bradford was fifth with 152 points. Skipp Miller was 22nd (22:03.9), Molly Clark was 28th (22:40.1), Mercedes Smith was 40th (23:19.1), Olivia Daugherty was 44th (23:25.7) and Alexis Barhorst was 77th (25:35.5).
Bethel was sixth with 178 points. Kylie Balkcom was 26th (22:21.5), Lisa Sebastian was 48th (23:49.9), Makenzie Nida was 49th (23:56.5), Brielle Gatrell was 69th (25:02.8) and Lydia Brannan was 76th (25:35.1).
Miami East was seventh with 183 points. Kiley Davie was 20th (21:53.3), Kendal Staley was 36th (23:02), Cyrena McAdams was 66th (24:58.4), Kinley Lavender was 70th (25:03.7) and Sarah Weaver was 87th (26:23.1).
Newton was eighth with 194 points. Kendra Kern was 31st (22:47), Baily Chaney was 33rd (22:54.3), Kara Chaney was 54th (24:12.1), Brin Fairband was 93rd (27:08.7) and Mackenzie Knupp was 94th (27:08.7).
Covington was ninth with 243 points. Haley Hargrave was 59th (24:33.5), Alexis Meyer was 63rd (24:55.1), Kailey Young was 80th (25:47), Summer Anderson was 112th (30:17.3) and Emily Schafer was 113th (30:42.1).
Gracie Glaser was third in 19:55.2 for Troy Christian, which only had four runners. Jewel Myers was 52nd (24:06.5), Cheyanna Cullen was 110th (29:14) and Katie Townsend was 116th (32:46.2).
On the boys side, Tippecanoe’s Conley posted the only sub-16-minute time, winning in 15:49.
For Conley, it was his third straight County meet individual title, but it was the first he felt 100 percent for.
“I felt great today,” Conley said. “We’ve put in the miles, and we’re just now starting to cut back a tad bit to make our legs feel fresh. It’s great for the first time (not feeling any injuries) here. I didn’t run my freshman year, and I was dinged up the last two years. Well, technically I wasn’t hurt last year, but I was out of shape from having a stress fracture all summer.”
The Devils swept the top four spots to seal the win. Landen Fraylick was second (16:34.2), Allan Murray was third (16:37.5), Ben Prenger was fourth (16:41.4) and Austin Rogers was ninth (17:05.4) to seal the win with a team score of 19 points.
And, according to Conley, the move to Division I has been a boost to the Devils as they look toward the coming postseason.
“I’m feeling confident about what we can do going into the postseason,” Conley said. “Us stepping up to D-I has put us in a different mentality. Before, we weren’t too worried about getting out (and qualifying to state). But now, we’ve got to put in work just to get out. We’re definitely in a better mindset going into the postseason, and I feel like our training has been amazing.”
Troy was second with 70 points. Austin Zonner was sixth (16:53.6), Josh Lovitt was seventh (17:00.3), Will Schaefer was 16th (17:26.4), Matthew Spayde was 21st (17:41.2) and Gavin Hutchinson was 28th (17:56).
“We’re running without Braden (Coate) right now, so we’ll take it,” Troy boys coach Phil Matthews said. “But our two freshman boys, Spayde and Hutchinson, have really been coming on. And Schaefer, Zonner and Lovitt all had strong races today. I think Schaefer PRed … but when you’re running against Tipp, there’s not much you can do against that pack. But we ran well today.”
Piqua was third with 121 points. Nolan Campbell was the first non-Tippecanoe runner in in fifth (16:45), Paul Hinds was 18th (17:32), Mitch Fletcher was 38th (18:37.2), Caven Wiles was 40th (18:37.5) and Cael Barr was 47th (18:55.1).
Newton was fourth with 131 points. Ben Hoover was eighth (17:03.4), Owen Via was 19th (17:35.5), Curtis Shellenberger was 30th (18:07.6), Clint Shellenberger was 49th (18:57.8) and Jacob Moore was 51st (19:08.3).
Troy Christian was fifth with 140 points. Robert Ventura was 10th (17:06.2), Noah Shook was 17th (17:27.3), Nate Hunnicutt was 35th (18:28.4), Aiden Tkach was 37th (18:34) and Torin Schulte was 73rd (19:53.4).
Bethel was sixth with 142 points. Cole Brannan was 15th (17:24.1), Trent Schweikhardt was 27th (17:53.2), Kaleb Roberts was 29th (18:03.3), Nathaniel Patton was 41st (18:40.1) and Colton Smith was 61st (19:35.7).
Milton-Union was seventh with 153 points. Eric Trittschuh was 20th (17:37.6), Chris Miller was 22nd (17:41.2), Tristan Persinger was 24th (17:47.2), Kyle Bostick was 53rd (19:12.6) and Cayden Galentine was 64th (19:42.2).
Covington was eighth with 175 points. Mic Barhorst was 23rd (17:41.9), Zane Barhorst was 44th (18:50.3), Owen Rawson was 46th (18:54.6), Fletcher Metz was 48th (18:55.6) and Tyler Alexander was 57th (19:25).
Miami East was ninth with 191 points. Alex Hayes was 31st (18:20.4), Michael Bair was 32nd (18:24.9), Garrett LeMaster was 50th (19:01), Josh Amheiser was 54th (19:12.7) and Elijah Willmeth was 66th (19:44.3).
Bradford was 10th with 321 points. Aidan Beachler was 112th (21:48.9), Jayden Dues was 113th (21:51.1), Dalton Reck was 115th (21:56.8), Hunter Biddlestone was 126th (22:49) and Jared Shellabarger was 136th (24:50).
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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