OBETZ, Ohio — Perrysburg sophomore Anthony Clark finished 38th in 16:18.8 and Bowling Green junior Aidan Novinsky was 68th out of 178 runners at the Division I state boys cross country meet Saturday.
At Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park, Hilliard Davidson senior Connor Ackley won the individual state championship in 15:10.1, and Mason won out over Cincinnati St. Xavier for the team title, 128-142.
Perrysburg coach Keith Madaras thought Clark ran one of his best races all season to beat more than 75% of the other state qualifiers.
“He ran a great race. We knew it was going to be challenging because of the weather. We kind of put together a plan Friday night, and he executed it perfectly,” Madaras said.
“He got out quick, he got in front of a big glut of runners, and just continued to move up each mile — just kept picking away at things. I’m so proud of him. For being only a sophomore with no state meet experience, he really ran a great race,” Madaras continued.
“In fact, he knocked off a bunch of guys from our region who had previously beaten him. I couldn’t be more happy for Anthony — I thought he did a really great job.”
For Novinsky, it was about getting acclimated to the biggest race he’s ever competed in.
“I thought his race went well,” BG coach Pat Carney said. “This is the first time he ran in the state meet — he’s been down as kind of a team supporter but not in the race, so I thought he handled it really well.”
Novinsky added, “It was a lot of fun. It’s a larger race than I’m used to running and a lot more people around me than usual.”
Carney said it was a learning lesson for Novinsky after running with the state’s best.
“He did well. He had a race plan to start off with and he did that, but he was 109th at the mile mark, and I think that was a little further back than he thought,” Carney said. “He probably got caught up in some traffic, which he knew was going to happen, but I think he had two more people than he thought that he was trying to get around.
“But he spent his race trying to claw his way back and did well. I think he learned a lot because obviously the plan will be for him to get here next year as well.”
Novinsky, who said he spends most of his free time after school running and accumulated close to 600 miles since the start of the season, believes he will be more prepared for his senior year.
“My first goal would be to get a better placement at the state meet next year. Hopefully the weather gets better, and I can get a better time and maybe even a school record next year. We’ll see,” said Novinsky, after running in strong winds on Saturday.
Novinsky has another goal — he wants to set a new program record by next year. His best time has been close to 15:50, but the school record is at about 15:24, he says.
“He had a goal to break 16 this year and he did that at one of the meets,” Carney said. “We would have liked to have that happen today, but I think weather had a lot to do with slowing the races down today.”
Carney said Novinsky has set another standard — leading a group with team potential into his senior year.
“In terms of a team leader, I can’t say enough about his leadership to the team this year. He’s been very consistent throughout the year,” Carney said.
“It’s been a very consistent and very strong season for him and setting our team for a very good performance next year,” Carney continued. “I think we are going to be tough, and we’ve got a good thing going and Aidan is obviously going to be a big part of that leadership.”