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FROM STAFF REPORTS
Cuyahoga Falls -- Aurora High's varsity girls cross country team topped seven other Division I schools for the title at the Walsh Jesuit Tomahawk Run on Sept. 10.
Olivia Grohe finished third overall in 20:13, followed by her twin sister Samantha, fifth in 20:50, Brynn Sesny, sixth in 20:59; Madeline Schmitt, 10th in 21:42; Karsen Zabell, 12th in 21:48; Elizabeth Keller, 13th in 21:51; and Katy Fellenstein, 15th in 22:01.
Elizabeth Miller finished 31st, but her time did not earn points toward Aurora's score.
Walsh Jesuit, Solon and Massillon Perry rounded out the top four teams.
"It was an amazing day for the girls varsity -- first place by 50 points," said coach Laura Bell. "We have 15 tough girls who can compete at the varsity level. If they continue with this same passion and teamwork, anything is possible."
Meanwhile, Aurora's varsity boys placed fifth behind Walsh Jesuit, Howland, Massillon Perry and Austintown Fitch.
Solomon Bibza led the way in 18th place in 17:57, followed by Donovan Boyle, 21st in 18:02; Robert Taylor, 25th in 18:11; Connor Brown, 32nd in 18:27; Henry Rees, 38th in 18:41; Matt Peluso, 62nd in 19:24; and Michael Kaplan, 82nd in 20:13.
Tyler Liston was 85th in 20:19, and Zach Thomas was 91st in 20:39, but their finish did not figure into the team points.
"THE BOYS are moving in the right direction and packing together," said Bell. "Bibza is a great competitor, Boyle and Rees continue to impress as first-year runners, and Brown and Peluso continue to be consistent veterans."
The Greenmen's top seven girls in the open run all placed in the top 10.
Results were: Elizabeth Barto, second in 23:16; Abbey Stechler, third in 23:21; Sophia Roberto, fifth in 23:35; Sara Gerber, sixth in 23:39; Makenna Kish, seventh in 23:42; Kate Walton, ninth in 23:53; and Caroline Caputo, 10th in 23:59.
"Quite impressive results for the open girls with a perfect score for the top seven," said Bell, who cited Barto's and Stechler's performances.
The top seven boys open runners were: Ben Young, 35th in 21:41; Tyler Hayes, 43rd in 22:00; Dominic Felice, 47th in 22:04; David Riley, 80th in 23:05; Ben Gramm, 91st in 23:36; Jonathan Hauman, 93rd in 23:38; and Robert Blackham, 99th in 23:55.
Aurora was third of five teams in the boys freshmen race behind St. Ignatius and Solon.
The top seven were: Samuel Siedel, 10th in 19:42; Luke Calder, 23rd in 20:41; Jack Deptola, 34th in 21:24; Logan Adler, 38th in 21:32; Jacob Marchese, 61st in 23:48; Jose Nunez, 64th in 24:06; and Andrew Kimes, 70th in 24:58.
The coach noted the teams were missing several key seniors, who were taking the ACT. She added the times were much slower than the previous week, but it was a hot and humid day.
"Both teams have something really special," said Bell. "Having so many runners, it can be very difficult to have this type of team unity. If the athletes continue to put their own pain aside to race for each other rather than themselves, anything is possible.
"Believing in each other, believing in themselves, breaking new records together."
AHS is at the Spartan Invitational in Boardman on Sept. 17