St. Joseph Central Catholic’s Chloe Liebold did a double take when she heard her time on Tuesday get compared to her seasonal-best time of 21 minutes, 38 seconds, which she ran at last month’s Lakota Invitational.
She didn’t realize the fourth-place time of 21:54 that she ran at Walsh Park during the SJCC Streak Invitational was even in the vicinity of being one of her best runs. All Liebold was happy about was she didn’t have to tackle the big hill again.
“I’m just glad I finished,” Liebold said. “This course will bust your butt. We do a lot of workouts and conditioning on it, but you never get use to it, especially when it’s windy and warm like this.”
Liebold was one of four runners to break 22 minutes during Tuesday’s race.
Calvert’s Olivia Smith won in 21:17.51, ahead of Jaclyn Troiano of Carey (21:32.07) in second and Dayna Fackler of Otsego (21:51.58) in third. Otsego bested St. Wendelin 71 to 85 for the overall team title. SJCC with 116 points was fifth, Gibsonburg with 143 was sixth.
Nate Rosengarten ran 18th in the boys race as the Crimson Streaks finished seventh (206 points) in the 11-team event. Bryce Mendoza ran 36th for the ninth-place Golden Bears (223). Rosengarten ran a time of 18:50.16. His top time was is 17:54, which he ran three weeks prior.
“I’m happy with how we’re doing, but there’s still room to improve,” said Rosengarten, who was one of 12 boys runners for SJCC. “I think with more people on the team, there’s a lot more competition in practice among us runners this year. We’re all pushing each other get better.”
SJCC’s Sam Reiter was 44th, Sean Vasquez 54th, Mike Kuss 59th, Cameron Wasson was 67th and Kaleb Bickley was 73rd.
Five of the Crimson Streaks’ top six runners are underclassmen, including Rosengarten, a junior.
“I didn’t run much until last season when I started running cross country,” Rosengarten said. “I was pretty good at it, so I decided to keeping running and I’ve just gotten better and better as time has gone on.”
Race winner Brandon Avers of Otsego ran a time of 16:58.59. The Knights swept the team titles as the boys topped Hopewell-Loudon 49 to 54.
Competition has never been far from Liebold either. She and Brooke Foster have taken turns being the top runner for SJCC this season. As freshmen a year ago, they were 11th and 16th respectively at the Midland Athletic League meet with Foster in the lead.
Foster was 10th on Tuesday, running 22:56.29.
“We love working with each other,” Liebold said. “Hopefully we can finish together at the league meet and the other races coming up.”
Lexie Steinberger finished 22nd for the Crimson Streaks who also got 34th- and 48th-place finishes respectively from Sarah Franks and Monica Vasquez.
Molly Burkett was eighth to pace the Golden Bears.
“It wasn’t one of my best races, but it was a really tough course. We’re not use to running on this many hills,” Burkett said. “I was ninth after the first mile, so I stayed pretty close to the front throughout.”
Alyssa Escobedo added a 23rd-place finish for Gibsonburg. Kelleigh Beatty was 33rd, Samantha DeAnda 35th, Maria Ruggiero 47th and Jasmine Stein was 49th.
“Our team has improved quite a bit since the beginning of the season,” Burkett said. “When we’re all healthy, we stack up with the rest of the (Toledo Area Athletic Conference) pretty well. But we have a few girls that are hurt, including our top runner from last year who just got hurt and she was coming back from an injury.”
Logan Damschroder added a 48th-place run for the Golden Bears on the boys side.