BY YANEEK SMITH | MIRROR SPORTS — Some teams would’ve been satisfied with an appearance in the regional tournament, but the Anthony Wayne girls wanted more.
The Lady Generals fell six points short of winning a Division I regional cross country championship, but their second-place finish was enough to qualify for state.
The state meet will take place on Saturday, November 2 at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron, located 30 miles east of Columbus.
Perrysburg finished first with 53 points and AW was second with 59. St. Ursula was third with 73 points, followed by Findlay (100), Northview (100) and Southview (111).
“It was an historic day for the AW cross country girls team, as it qualified for the state (tournament) for the first time since 1997. We have had individual qualifiers in the last 22 years, but no team (has qualified),” said AW coach Kevin O’Connor.
“It was a big day and it took some big performances to earn that result.”
Ana Karmol ran another great race and tied for the best time of her career, finishing in 18:53.5, good for fourth place. Ella Karmol was 10th in 19:19.1 and Evelyn Yoder finished one spot behind her, running a 19:20.2 Cari Varner was 16th in 19:48.2.
“Ana Karmol led our team, finishing fourth in the race and tying her PR by running an 18:53. And then the pack that has been key for the girls all year came through in a big way,” O’Connor said.
“Ella Karmol finished 10th in 19:19, senior captain Elly Yoder set a huge (personal record) with a run of 19:20 and finished right behind Ella.
“Sophomore Cari Varner had a PR., finishing 16th in 19:48. With our four runners in the top 16, we were set up for a great team result.”
Lydia Swartz rounded out the scoring for the Generals, finishing 41st in 21:22.8 and Amelie Blakely (49th in 22:25.8) and Lillian Hall (50th in 23:02.3) had good showings as well.
“Lydia came through, almost matching her season’s best time, and the team secured its place as the regional runner-up,” O’Connor said.
“Amelie almost beat her season’s best time and Lilly Hall gave all she had for her teammates to round out our effort on the day.”
It will be the second consecutive trip to Hebron for the Karmol twins, who had good showings last year at the state meet. Last season, Ana was 28th in Division I and Ella was 70th.
In his final race as a General, Jacob Varner went out on a high note, finishing 21st in 16:53.55, just eight seconds away from qualifying for the state tournament. His teammate, Liam McGuckin, finished just behind him, placing 22nd in 16:53.56.
It was the culmination of a fine season for both runners, and the final race for Varner.
“Jake Varner and Liam McGuckin also excelled in the regional race,” O’Connor said. “They both (had their best times), running matching 16:53s.
“That was no easy feat yesterday – there was a heavy downpour during their race and the Tiffin course was extremely muddy, but they ran with determination to run a PR and finish 21st and 22nd, respectively. It was a terrific way to wrap up the boys season and for Jake, his AW cross country career.”