Eric Finan finishes fourth in Ohio Division II; concludes outstanding cross country career

New Richmond senior Eric Finan brought pride to himself, his school, his conference, and his county by earning fourth place in the Ohio Division II State Cross Country Championships that took place at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Saturday, Nov. 4.

Finan not only paced Clermont County, but also all of Greater Cincinnati in Division II.

He completed the 3.1-mile course in 15-minutes and 48-seconds.

In the Division II Regional that took place in Troy, Finan won with a clocking of 16:21.61, almost 22 seconds in front of the runner-up.

Goshen qualified as a team and was 16th. The Warriors were paced by Cody Monk’s 18:28.91 (71st place), Robert Romeo’s 18:37.67 (74), and Josh Shouse’s 18:55.03 (82). A total of 126 runners competed.

In Division I, Milford was 13th as a team. The front runners for the Eagles were junior Robbie Dearhammer in 17:20.81 (43) and senior Nathan Bullock in 17:21.40 (44). A total of 126 harriers ran the race.

Among the girls, there were two contenders in Division II. New Richmond sophomore Alana Kennedy finished in 20:28.95 (18) and Goshen junior Staci Hicks in 20:52.98 (26). Again, a total of 126 ran the course.

Finan was once again the pacesetter for Clermont County’s harriers. This time he won the Division II District championship that took place at the Voice of America Park in West Chester.

The Lion senior’s winning 3.1-mile time was 16-minutes, 59.35 seconds, a very impressive 28.32 seconds in front of the second place finisher. Exactly 100 runners competed.

Teamwise, Goshen, the runner-up team in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division by just one point to Western Brown, qualified for the regional by capturing fourth place. Wyoming was the winner with 37 points, Hamilton Badin had 45, Taylor 99, Goshen 139, McNicholas 141, Indian Hill 191, Madeira 219, New Richmond 235, Little Miami 265, Ross 286, Purcell Marian 296, Roger Bacon 297, Norwood 316, and Blanchester 330. Batavia, Bethel-Tate, and Clermont Northeastern did not field full five-man teams. The top four teams qualified for the regional championship gathering.

Goshen’s placers and times were Robert Romeo (16th place) 18:39.13, Cody Monk (18) 18:46.54, Darren Garrett (27) 19:16,65, Josh Shouse (36) 19:34.46, Jacob Buchanan (53) 20:10.21, Andrew Smith (66) 20:50.34, and Jordan Poff (69) 21:05.23. Louie Schaljo, a freshman, was the first Bethel-Tate runner to come in by having finished 24th overall with a clocking of 19:04.70. Batavia was paced by Nathan Braswell who came in in 20:35.50 and the top CNE runner was Geoff Howell in 23:48.98.

Goshen’s Staci Hicks, a junior, and New Richmond’s Alana Kennedy, a sophomore, were second and third, respectively, in the Division II girls race. Hicks was clocked at 21:05.70 and Kennedy at 21:10.72.

The best finishers for their respective teams were Tarah Cole of Bethel Tate (21) 22:32.16, Lora Faris of Batavia in 27:16.28, and Denise Marlar of CNE in 30:14.73.

Among the 11 complete teams, Goshen was seventh with 184 points and New Richmond was eighth with 214. Batavia, Bethel-Tate, and Clermont Northeastern did not have complete line-ups. Indian Hill was the titleist with 72 points.

Milford qualified as a team for the Division I Regional (again, the top four teams from the district race qualify for the regional).

In the District Section I showdown, the Eagles were third with 116 points. LaSalle won it all with 25 and Elder tallied 67 points. Thirteen full teams competed.

Glen Este was 10th with 294 points. The Voice of America Park was the site of the event.

The competitors for the Red and White with their place and time were Matt Belliston (18) 17:27.34, Aaron Ball (21) 17:32.40, Nathan Bullock (22) 17:33.38, Robbie Dearhammer (24) 17:37.79, Matt Bayman (31) 17:43.08, Austin Bever (34) 17:46.65, and Mark Bayman (42) 18:19.92. Glen Este was pace set by C. J. Pickelheimer who was 38th in 18:02.74.

In Section II of the Division I boys running, Amelia did not enter a complete squad. The Barons were paced by Adam Sprague who was 33rd in a clocking of 18:21.43.

Among the girls in Division I Section I, Milford was seventh among 13 full teams with 187 points and Amelia was 10th with 291. The champion was St. Ursula with 56 points.

The Barons’ Kayla Wakefield turned in the best time for Clermont countians. She was 17th overall in a time of 21:07.61. The first finisher for Milford was Courtney Krummert who was 24th in 21:19.47.

In the Division I Section II run, Glen Este’s Stephanie Stoffel gained the best time for her team. Her 21:14.11 clocking earned her 24th place overall.

Among the 12 complete units, the Purple and White was 10th with 302 points; Mason won it all with 73 points.

These races also took place at the Voice of America Park,

The Division III race took place at Voice of America Park, too. Clermont County did not have a complete team entered in the boys race, but individually, Felicity’s Alex Jarman led the Clermonters with his 26th place in 19:42.48. There were no female competitors in Division III.

Overall in Clermont County, teamwise, the most improved team when all the runners can be put on the course at the same time would appear to be Amelia.

Head coach Shane Heikenfeld foresees the Barons as possibly being able to return to its glory days of league, sectional, and district laurels and state qualifiers and placers such as AHS had in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. (Frank Molitor, class of 1967 was the first Greater Cincinnati high school student to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and John Wellerding, class of 1972, qualified for the trails of the marathon run for the 1984 Olympics).

“The boys team was smaller in numbers this year that I expected, but the team is better in overall talent,” said Heikenfeld. “I think it’s been a successful season. We’re much more successful than we’ve been in the last five seasons.”

Senior Adam Sprague has been in the forefront of the Blue and White. He turned in his best time of 17-minutes, 8-seconds at the Bethel-Tate Invitational. “I expect him to get his time into the sixteens (minutes).”

Also completing the 3.1-mile courses with improved clocking were sophomore Dan Deweese (17:27). Dan Sandker, a senior, and Justin Brooks, a junior, who have been “reliable” runners for their coach.

Heikenfeld had to share the time of the training and the meet performances of sophomore Josh Harrell and freshman Michael Stapleton with the soccer program.

“We have lots of talent, but what we need is depth,” said the taskmaster of the Blue and White.

The Baron girls are “doing pretty well,” according to Heikenfeld.

Senior Kayla Wakefield is putting the girls in the Blue and White uniforms through their paces. Her best performance this season is a 20:28 timing.

Amelia is also getting good efforts from freshman Jill Durham who is “injured, but the best runner we had among the girls in junior high last year.” Sophomore Alexis Weidner is also injured. Junior Alex Wakefield, Kayla’s sister, is a “key runner.”

Freshman Beth Wilson and sophomores Sara Stapleton and Abagail Smith are “hard workers.” Freshmen sisters Erin and Kady Lynn have been strengthening the overall Amelia showings.

“We should be good next year with Durham, Wilson, and Wakefield coming back. We need to find fourth and fifth graders who are solid runners to keep the program strong.

“Both teams have solid corps for a good future for the program,” Heikenfeld said.