Vinton County Vikings

Members of the Vinton County Vikings’ cross country team pose for a picture after competing in the Division II state cross country OHSAA State Cross Country Championships, held at the National Trail Raceway on Saturday. The Vikings finished 18th in Division II.

Note: This recap appears in the Tuesday, Nov. 5 newspaper on Page A6.

HEBRON — Trimble junior Danuel Persinger was once again able to complete his cross season on the state-tournament stage.

Persinger competed as an individual on Saturday at the Division III OHSAA State Cross Country Championships, held at the National Trail Raceway.

Persinger was able to finish in 99th place out of 181 runners. He posted a 5K time of 17:42.3.

Persinger posted an average mile time of 5:41.6 while competing against the top runners in the state.

Persinger stood in 97th place after the first mile, with a time of 5:19.8. Persinger stood in 120th place after the second mile, his time standing at 11:22.7.

Persinger was able to surge enough over the final mile to crack the top hundred to finish his season.

Persinger competed a year ago at the state meet, when the Tomcats qualified as a team. He was Trimble’s top runner, running a time of 17:51.8.

Persinger was able to post a faster time on Saturday as a junior, and he’ll return next season to try and make it three consecutive years at the state meet.

Grandview Heights junior Derek Amicon won the individual Division III state title with a time of 15:42.5.

Belpre’s Eli Fullerton finished fifth to earn all-Ohio honors in Division III. He completed the race in 16:09.5. Fullerton was consistent, as he was fifth at the 1-mile mark, 2-mile mark and the 4200 split.

Fee, Vikings complete historic season

This time, Rylee Fee had a little help from her friends.

The Vinton County senior returned to the state cross country meet Saturday, but instead of making the trip by her lonesome — as she did last season — Fee brought the rest of the Vikings along for the ride.

Vinton County finished 18th among the 20 Division II schools that competed on the 3.1-mile course at National Trail Raceway, their 387 points only slightly better than Celina (391) and Lima Shawnee (417). But, given that it was the team’s first-ever state meet appearance, and that five of its seven runners are seniors, the sense of accomplishment far outweighed any disappointment.

“It’s been a heckuva ride,” said coach Josh Kirkpatrick. “For most of them, this day has been six years in the making, and it was worth it. I thought we ran well. We competed hard.”

Fee came across the finish line first for the Vikings, placing 56th out of the race’s 176 competitors with a 19:45.0, and junior Olivia Mayers was right behind her (19:46.2; 57th). Senior Lexie Walker’s 20:47.9 was good for 119th, and Emily Reynolds, a junior, completed the course in 21:23.1 (142nd). Seniors Abrianna McManis (22:01.6; 162nd), Olivia Wells (22:10.5; 164th) and Sydney Quackenbush (22:59.0; 168th) came in close together and completed the scoring for Vinton County.

Lexington repeated as Division II state champions, winning its fourth title in five years by placing three runners in the top 21 and scoring a scant 83 points, which easily out-distanced runner-up Granville’s 170.

As far as Fee’s race goes, comparisons between this year and last are difficult, owing to the waterlogged conditions of the 2018 course. However, last year’s race day conditions were picture-perfect, while 2019’s slate of runners had to deal with brisk, windy conditions. Still, Fee finished 30 seconds faster but six spots lower than a season ago.

But to hear her tell, there’s no doubt which day will be the most memorable.

“I was so glad that everyone was able to come and race with me this time,” Fee said. “It made everything a lot more special. I think I ran a good race — as well as I could have, definitely — and the team did great. Everyone was able to finish the day, and the season, strong.”

Email at kwiseman@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @KevinWmessenger

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