TROY — Despite finishing in seventh at the Division III Regional Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Troy, the National Trail boys’ team did not qualify to continue on to the state finals.
Trail finished with 181 team points on the day. Only the top four teams and the top 16 individuals qualify for the state championships.
“We didn’t run our best, I know the boys are disappointed,” said National Trail coach James Byrd. “They had a great year, great season, made conference champions again. For the senior group, it’s hard because we lose five good men. It was hard to go out on this note, we were hoping to go on to state next week. But we are going to celebrate today at least on the season and on the career that they had. The senior group did a lot to build the program to where it is now.”
The Blazers started off in good position during the first kilometer of the race, but were soon separated as the racers stretched out. Sophomore Josh Bishop was the first Blazer runner to finish, placing 34th at the 17:46 mark. Adam Eyler crossed the finish line in 43rd with a time of 17:58 among a group of five runners who were separated by one stride or less.
Senior team captain Lane Unger came in 51st at 18:12, while sophomore Travis Hunt was a few strides behind him, placing 53rd in 18:15.
Seniors Weston Haws (72nd, 18:47), Josh Cook (74th, 18:49), and Peyton Harrison (80th, 18:56) rounded out the Blazers roster.
Fort Loramie dominated the regional championships with a team score of 48. The team had runners finish in second, third, and fourth, while its final two runners to score took 18th and 21 respectively. Cincinnati Summit Country Day was runner-up with 101 points. Anna (134) and Clark Montessori (137) round out the top four teams which will compete in the state championships set for Saturday, Nov. 5, at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
National Trail seniors Cook, Green, Harrison, Haws, and Unger, won three of the last four Cross County Conference championships and numerous season tournaments.
“I can talk all day long on each of these guys,” said Byrd. “Lane and the growth he’s had as a leader. Peyton as a leader since his first day back in seventh grade, it was fun to watch him grow up. Weston once brought up that he really didn’t want to run cross country back in seventh grade but winning has been addictive and he’s been with us ever since. Austin didn’t run with us today, but he’s one of those guys who’s fun to have around. Just a great leader. Josh has put in a lot of work to be where he is now. They are just a great group of kids who will be missed.”
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH