By David Fong
HEBRON — With 800 meters to go, Katie Taylor looked deep within herself for whatever fuel she had left in the tank.
The Tippecanoe cross country runner found it.
Taylor — running in 20th place at the Division II state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron — was able to pass four runners down the stretch to earn finish 16th in 18:50.2, good enough for All-Ohio honors and the final spot on the podium.
“That was my main goal,” Taylor said of earning All-Ohio honors. “That’s what I was shooting for. At the end, I heard my coach yelling at me to kick it in. They always emphasize having enough energy left to finish and trusting yourself that you will. I did have enough left. This feels amazing.”
Taylor also helped lead the Red Devils to a third-place finish as a team with 139 points. Woodridge won with 88 points and Lexington was second with 123 points.
For the Red Devils, finishing third at state was a satisfying way to end the season after a disappointing second-place finish a week ago at regionals.
“After all we’ve been through, this feels great,” Tippecanoe coach Byron Kimmel said. “We ran much better than we did last week. I know the kids were disappointed after last week, but we were able to bounce back and have a great race.”
MaKenzie Dietz finished 24th for Tippecanoe (19:18.6). Kaili Titley was 44th (19:20.1), Abbi Halsey was 47th (19:22.7), Laura Fink was 93rd (20:05.9), Jillian Brown was 99th (20:15.6) and Bekah Shininger was 131st (20:59.2).
“I’m proud of these girls,” Kimmel said. “This gives us a lot of momentum heading into next season.”
Division III Girls
Bradford’s Karmen Knepp earned All-Ohio honors in the Division III race, placing 10th in 18:44.1.
The Covington girls plaecd seventh as a team. Leading the Buccaneers was Anna Dunn, who placed 44th in 19:41.7. Paige Boehringer was 46th (19:43.1), Ashlyn Plessinger was 73rd (20:03.4), Kelsey Dysinger was 115th (20:55.2), Danielle Alexander was 117th (20:58.2) and Emma Dammeyer was 155th (22:16.2).
Miami East’s Loraenza Savini placed 27th (19:17.9) and teammate Marie Ewing placed 81st (20:16.0).
Lehman’s Alanna O’Leary placed 92nd (20:28.6).
Division I Boys
Piqua’s Andy Mayse placed 62nd (16:15.2) as the lone Division I boys competitor from Miami County.
Division II Boys
Tippecanoe’s Keenan Fraylick placed 84th (16:57.2), while teammate Bryce Conley placed 160th (17:41.9).
Division III Boys
Bethel’s Korry Hamlin led the Miami County competitors in the Division III boys race, placing 47th in 16:46.9.
Milton-Union’s Will Brock was 51st (16:49.4), while Miami East’s Gavin Horne was 59th (16:56.9).