Granville’s pack could not slow down Watkins Memorial super sophomore Andrew Jordan.
The Blue Aces, however, were able to stay a step ahead of the host Warriors everywhere else Saturday. Granville scored 36 points and edged Watkins’ 45 for the Licking County League title at Watkins.
“(Coach Dave Agosta) emphasized that they have been peaking and that they were going to race like it,” Granville junior Ryan Black said. “He said we should let them go out and run the first half and that they were going to drop off because we are prepared with more of the base work.”
The meet was expected to be a match race between the Blue Aces and Warriors, and it lived up to the billing. Jordan won the individual title in 16:15, but Granville’s Tyler Otterstedt followed in second at 16:38.
The Blue Aces’ Black was fourth (16:49), the Warriors’ Jordan Rice seventh (16:56), Granville’s Robbie Weaver eighth (16:59), Watkins’ Tyler Day ninth (17:11), the Blue Aces’ Tyler Keenan 10th (17:16), the Warriors’ Jacob Gero 11th (17:43) and Granville’s Kyle VanNess 12th (17:44).
“The girls had taken off, and we were sort of doing good but (Agosta) didn’t know where we would go,” Weaver said. “It was great to see us show him we have done something and that we are on our way.”
Otterstedt and Black pushed Jordan from the start, but Jordan pulled away midway through. By the third mile, Jordan simply was chasing the school record.
Jordan’s 16:15 tied Blake McDowell, who set the mark in 1995. McDowell eventually was an All-American at Eastern Michigan. No pressure on Jordan to do that, but he is off to a great start.
“I knew that Granville had a really good team and that Tyler Otterstedt would be my main competitor,” Jordan said. “After about a half-mile from when we got into the woods, I decided to pick up the pace a little bit from all of the cheering.
“I was just so happy (the final mile). I couldn’t believe it.”
Lakewood’s Chris Briggs won a great battle for third place. He finished in 16:47, shattering his previous best of 17:20. He also eclipsed his brother David’s personal best, and he was quick to contact his older brother.
“It was the first thing I did,” Briggs said.
Black, Newark’s Catholic’s Tanner Ernest (16:52) and Licking Valley’s Griffin Butler (16:55) each made a run at third before Briggs edged them out.
“I knew I could do it because I have had two good years of running,” Briggs said. “I knew I had a shot of getting in and breaking it up a little bit.”
Carl Williams was 13th (17:46), helping the Green Wave to a third-place finish with 86 points, and Lakewood’s Major Henry was 14th (17:48), helping the Lancers to fourth with 113.