BY KEVIN O’CONNOR | CROSS COUNTRY COACH — For the first time in 37 years, the Anthony Wayne boys cross country team took first place in the Northern Lakes League, and the girls weren’t far behind, placing second during the October 16 meet at Whiteford Valley Golf Course in Ottawa Lake, Mich.
Winning the league is quite an accomplishment and the guys are justified in taking pride and confidence from this achievement.
This is the first time since 1984 that the boys have won a title. Baum’s Page has NLL results going back to 2008 and the best scores in that span included third place in 2017 and 2020, and fourth place in 2010, 2018 and 2019.
It is often preached that ultimately times don’t matter in cross country and that every place counts, and both were certainly true on Saturday.
While the Northview hosts did a good job setting up the course, with all of the rain, the course was underwater in sections and muddy throughout. No one had a pretty track to run on as the course just got sloppier and sloppier as the meet continued.
The varsity boys had the worst of it as the fourth race of the day, but the Generals ran determined races to upset the favorites and take the title.
Sophomore Connor Long and juniors Aiden Lengel and Matt Dittus ran well as a group in the front of the pack and ultimately finished fifth, sixth and 11th. Sophomore Connor Neumeyer ran the race of his life to be AW’s fourth runner to finish 22nd, while senior Rory Smith made it five. by coming in 24th.
In the mud and slop, times were slow and it was a bit of a slugfest. The “every place counts” mantra was appropriate, as the boys won the title by two points over Perrysburg.
Long and Lengel earned first-team all-league honors, while Dittus ran his way to the second team.
The AW varsity girls have set a high standard the last few years by qualifying for the state championship meet in each of the last two seasons and winning the district title last year.
On Saturday, they ran their way to second place for the fourth consecutive year at the league meet and four girls earned all-league honors.
Perrysburg won the meet with a team that is particularly tough this year, ranked No. 5 in the state coming into the weekend.
The AW girls ran hard on a day when it was difficult to change gears and they held off a gutsy Bowling Green team to take second place.
Ana Karmol earned first-team NLL honors, Ella Karmol made the second team and Amelia O’Connor and Cari Varner earned spots on the all-league third team.
Brandy Outly was Anthony Wayne’s fifth runner in the race and her finish ahead of Bowling Green’s fifth runner was a big part of the team’s second-place finish in a close race.