The St. Xavier boys’ team along with top-notch efforts by senior Jacob Thomson of Holy Cross and Sydney Leiher of Beavercreek (Ohio) highlighted the Tiger Run cross country meet Saturday at Champions Park.
Defending Class 3-A champion and host St. Xavier placed six runners in the top 10 to win the boys’ title over squads from four states. The girls’ title was won by Beavercreek, the 2011 Ohio Division I runner-up.
In all, nearly 700 runners from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio competed in the varsity races.
Thomson got out early with his training partner, Butler junior Patrick Gregory, in pursuit — and that’s the way it stayed, one friend chasing another.
“I wanted to go 1-2 with Pat, and we did. I accomplished what I set out to do,” said Thomson. “We’ve been friends since third and fourth grade. He’s definitely my top competition in the state.”
Thomson was the man to beat as he took the early lead and let the rest of the field try to catch him.
“During an in-state race, I have to get out and push the race. That’s how I practice,” he said.
Thomson finished the 5,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 27.61 seconds, well ahead of Gregory’s time of 15:39.34. The pair finished 1-2 last year as well.
Thomson wouldn’t use heat as an excuse. He’s been training in it all summer, but he had aimed for a better time.
“I wanted to go out and break the record,” he said. “But it wasn’t a bad effort. I feel really fit right now.”
And for the defending Class A champion, the first big meet of a new season is a steppingstone to bigger and better things.
“I just move on to the next one now,” said Thomson, the next one being the Indiana State Meet Preview at Terre Haute, Ind., next weekend.
Finishing third was Class 3-A champion Connor Sheryak of St. Xavier in 15:42.93 — he was the first of three Tigers in the top five. Sam Lewis (fourth in 15:48.86) and Nick Reader (fifth in 16:01.80) led the way as St. Xavier defended its meet title with 17 points.
Bedford North Lawrence (Ind.) was runner-up with 130 points, paced by Arthur Cross-Najafi (11th in 16:21.35). Beavercreek was third with 152.
Leiher was a sophomore who finished fourth when Beavercreek — from outside Dayton — made the trip to the Tiger Run in 2010. But on Saturday the senior was the class of the field, winning in 18:29.77. Manual’s Cassidy Hale, the Class 3-A champion, was runner-up in 18:45.64.
Cassidy Hale and Maddox Patterson of Lexington Sayre, the defending Tiger Run and Class A champ, were part of a talented field in the girls’ race. That didn’t stop Leiher from doing what she came to do.
“I didn’t know anyone. I just ran by myself,” said Leiher. “I came here to do my thing.”
For Leiher, the Division I Ohio state champ in the 1,600, winning a competitive meet to start the season put her on the right track.
“It’s a big confidence builder, definitely,” Leiher said. “I’m happy with how I did.”
Trying to chase down Hale was Nicole Gardner of Siegel (Tenn.), who finished third in 18:47.68. Sacred Heart sophomore Maggie Allen finished fourth in 19:08.89; Patterson, also a sophomore, was well back in fifth (19:28.09).
Leiher’s effort also helped Beavercreek to the team title with 73 points. Manual, with three runners in the top 13, finished second with 98 points. Sacred Heart was third with 121.
Boys’ team scores – St. Xavier 17, Bedford North Lawrence (Ind.) 130, Beavercreek (Ohio) 152, Eastern 224, St. Henry 249, Lafayette 257, South Oldham 277, Tates Creek 288, Trinity 293, Siegel (Tenn.) 297, Ravenwood (Tenn.) 318, North Hardin 359, Manual 371, Bullitt East 374, Pulaski County 380, Covington Catholic 393, Lexington Catholic 456, North Oldham 507, Greenwood 542, Jeffersonville (Ind.) 575, Male 633, Christian Academy of Louisville 643, Pekin Eastern (Ind.) 644, John Hardin 668, Trimble County 677, Atherton 703, Franklin County 798, New Albany (Ind.) 802, Kentucky Country Day 813, Woodford County 816, Nelson County 830, Collegiate 870, Bracken County 892, Bell County 951, Shelby County 959, Pleasure Ridge Park 961, Fort Knox 1038.
Top individuals (5,000 meters) – 1. Jacob Thomson (Lou. Holy Cross) 15:27.61; 2. Patrick Gregory (Butler) 15:39.34; 3. Connor Sheryak (St. Xavier) 15:42.93; 4. Sam Lewis (St. Xavier) 15:48.86; 5. Nick Reader (St. Xavier) 16:01.80; 6. Nick Waltman (Sayre) 16:09.22; 7. Nicholas Laureano (Lexington Catholic) 16:10.43; 8. Max Mudd (St. Xavier) 16:15.37; 9. Thomas Cave (St. Xavier) 16:20.03; 10. Chris Striegel (St. Xavier) 16:20.82; 11. Arthur Cross-Najafi (Bedford North Lawrence) 16:21.35; 12. John Spencer (Lafayette) 16:22.88; 13. Tyler Boone (Siegel) 16:24.23; 14. Quinn Avirom (Ravenwood) 16:23.30; 15. Mark Johnson (St. Xavier) 16:27.83.
Girls’ team scores – Beavercreek (Ohio) 73, Manual 98, Sacred Heart 121, Siegel (Tenn.) 160, Ravenwood (Tenn.) 166, Butler 192, North Oldham 278, Eastern 279, Louisville Holy Cross 284, Woodford County 301, South Oldham 311, St. Henry 315, Mercy 377, Nelson County 386, Tates Creek 394, Male 395, Pulaski County 436, Lafayette 452, Christian Academy of Louisville 491, New Albany (Ind.) 537, Assumption 627, Lexington Catholic 634, Greenwood 650, Franklin County 660, Kentucky Country Day 676, Jeffersonville (Ind.) 694, Bell County 758, Western Hills 788, Pleasure Ridge Park 882, Atherton 922.
Top individuals (5,000 meters) – 1. Sydney Leiher (Beavercreek) 18:29.77; 2. Cassidy Hale (Manual) 18:45.64; 3. Nicole Gardner (Siegel) 18:47.68; 4. Maggie Allen (Sacred Heart) 19:08.89; 5. Maddox Patterson (Sayre) 19:28.09; 6. Dabney Chitwood (Ravenwood) 19:36.22; 7. Karly Gawarecki (Lou. Holy Cross) 19:39.58; 8. Kristen Hale (Manual) 19:44.68; 9. Aurora Turner (Beavercreek) 19:52.86; 10. Trisha Frazer (Siegel) 19:52.87; 11. Mia Cornette (Woodford County) 19:55.60; 12. Grace Whitworth (South Oldham) 19:57.37; 13. Christina Rucinski (Manual) 20:00.65; 14. Hannah Herd (Christian Academy) 20:04.33; 15. Parker Shay (Sacred Heart) 20:05.82.