BETTSVILLE — It was a stunning day for Fremont Ross’ Louis Guardiola in a runner-up finish for the Little Giants on Saturday at the Lakota-hosted Myron Cline Invitational.
The Little Giants junior has been on verge of besting the school record of 15:51, held by Jeremiah Wagner since 1995, after posting a mark at 16:00 two weeks ago.
On Saturday, the Ross standout comfortably held a 20-meter lead on the field in the Joe McKown Division to only be outkicked in the final stretch by Bellevue senior Andrew Beier, who would win the race at 16:19.23 with Guardiola at 16:24.09.
The Redmen would edge the Little Giants 68-63 and the Lady Red would claim Julie Harrison Division title ahead of Liberty Benton, 42-50.
“You can never underestimate your competition and I knew he would be a guy that would fight with me,” said Guardiola of Beier. “I ran the race well. I will tweak some things and train and move on to the next race.”
Beier said he knew coming into the race that it would take a really great performance to compete with Guardiola.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Guardiola) and I knew I had to basically kill myself in the race to beat him,” Beier said. “I was told to stay back and stopped myself from going too fast at the beginning.
“I had it in my mind for the entire race that I was going to beat him and stayed in a good position.”
Ross coach Jon Elder said it was the best his team has run all year. Other scorers for the Little Giants were Tyler Edmonds at fifth (16:48.27), Devaun Churchya seventh (17:04.68), Brantleigh Bunting 27th (18:03.7) and Justin Schaeffer 29th (18:05.2).
“We are doing a lot of running right now, so we are not as fresh as we will be at the end of the season,” Elder said. “I’m really happy with Justin Schaeffer, who has struggled this season and had a great performance today.”
For the Lady Little Giants, Valerie Bixler surprised Elder by winning the girls race with a new personal best at 19:12.92.
“She ran a wonderful race and I didn’t expect that it would be that fast,” Elder said. “I expected a possible first, but that’s awesome.”
For the Lady Little Giants, Faye Sloma finished 15th (20:54.15), Paige Collier 31st (21:56.73), Holly Fisher 60th (23:25.85) and Cassidi Lovell 66th (23:44.85).
The Lady Redmen would place Whitney Schalk third (19:49.87), Ericka Hosang fourth (19:58.54), Madison Scagnetti seventh (20:09.41), Sarah Bedell 19th (21:18.13) and Lindsey Yantz 20th (21:19).
Both Bellevue “teams are getting better and better and I know that the boys want to win a league championship, something that hasn’t been done here since 1985,” said Redmen coach Lee Booze. The boys also “had a nice comeback from Dylan Hall-Farmbrough, our No. 2, who is coming off a stress fracture.”
Hall-Farmbrough placed eighth (17:07.56) to pace the Redmen with Cory Huddleston 16th (17:25.36), Austin Guthrie 17th (17:33.93) and Alex Drummond 24th (27:57.6).
The girls “ran really good to compete against Liberty-Benton, a state caliber Div. III school,” said Booze. “Whitney Shaulk ran her first race in the 19s and Lindsey Yontz, a first-year senior had a great day.
“We had a lot of PRs (personal records) and it was just a fun meet.”
For the Oak Harbor boys, who ended third at 78, Jake Wistinghausen placed 10th (17:11.9), Tyler Sievert 11th (17:15.59), Zach Seaman 13th (17:21.66), Tim Poiry 18th (17:33.18) and Bryce Buderer 28th (18:04.91). Buderer set a personal best by more than one minute.
Rockets coach Eric Buckman said seeing the development of his team is indescribable, having coached some of the runners since the junior high level.
“We had two season-bests and three PRs today,” Buckman said. “We were runner-up in the SBC (Sandusky Bay Conference) last year and the year before and if we can get these guys down in the 16s we can compete with Perkins (reigning conference champion).”
Oak Harbor’s girls ended fourth (115) with Clyde eighth (217).
Trinity Gephart paced the Lady Rockets at 10th (20:22.51) with Allie Dresser 14th (20:50.31), Maria Boers 21st (21:22.34), Madelaine Newman 36th (22:14.1) and Andrea Cecil 48th (22:32.03).
Lady Fliers placed Chloe Ruttschaw 17th (21:10.92), while the 10th place Clyde boys were led by Matt Gerber at 42nd (18:34.81).