Top runners finding their way on the cross country course

DARKE COUNTY – Three weeks into the season and Darke County’s Cross Country Teams have been off and running. Early this season, most teams have competed in the Bob Schul Invitational in West Milton and Treaty City Invitational in Greenville. A couple of teams supported the newly created Covington Invitational. This weekend, Darke county teams split time between the Brookville Invitational, Union City Invitational, Troy Invitational, Tiffin Distance Carnival and Spencerville Invitational (visit for results). Check out this week’s schedule to see where your favorite team will be this week.

How are these teams doing and who are the standouts? Here is a rundown for each of the schools.

In the boys division, the top runners to watch at Greenville are seniors Jacob Butsch and Bailey Hartle. Through two meets, both have put up decent times with Butsch taking 10th in Centerville and ninth at the Treaty City Invitational. His time slipped a little from Centerville; dropping from 16:59.65 to 17:06, but Hartle shaved 16 seconds off of his time dropping it from 17:52.52 to 17:36

Ally Hayes and Lexi Roth after two meets have been the top two girls for Greenville. Hayes shaved almost a minute off of her previous meet at the Treaty City Invitational. Roth knocked 12 seconds off of her time.

Versailles is always strong in running events and this year is no exception. Both the boys and girls teams have scored top five finishes at the Bob Schul Invitational and Treaty City Invitational. The top boys are Richie Ware who took fourth at the Bob Schul and seventh at the Treaty City Invitational. Joe Spitzer finished a little more than a minute behind Ware, but is still putting up times to keep in the top 20. Madison Grilliot started the season with a 20:57 at the Bob Schul and lost a few seconds to finish with a 21:02 at the Treaty City. Murphy Grow isn’t far behind, having finished 21:22.2 at the Bob Schul and 21:16 in Greenville.

Isaac Stephens and Michael Scott are the two runners to watch in Arcanum. Stephens had a 36th place finish in West Milton at the Bob Schul. He lost a little time in the Buccaneer FOE 3998 in Covington, which showed in his placing at 41st. Scott dropped his time from 20:52.7 in West Milton to 20:04.7, besting his teammate and earning 34th place.

Marcy Bradshaw and Kelsey Anderson have so far shown they are at the top for the Arcanum girls. Bradshaw was able to drop 54 seconds from her time the team’s second meet. She finished 13th in Covington. Anderson finished in 25:46.7 in West Milton, but lost a little time in Covington to finish with a 26:30.1.

Johnny Fike and Rayce Grigg are set to lead the Bradford Railroaders Boys Cross Country Team this year. Fike improved from 19:32.4 to 18:48 in the first two meets. Grigg also improved going from a 21:09.7 to a 20:24.

Bailey Brewer was able to improve her time and standing from the Bob Schul to the Treaty City Invitational. She posted a 22:08.7 and a 30th place finish in West Milton, but posted a 12th place finish with a 21.26 finish in Greenville. Gabby Fair lost a little time in her second meet, dropping from 25:59.4 to 26:03.

Keenan Fraylick has posted good times for the Tri-Village boys this year. In his first meet he ran the course in 18:59.7. He improved in Covington with a time of 18:54.7. Kody Fourman has also been fairly steady, posting times of 19:35.4 and 19:51.8.

Ecko Brown and Samantha Holzapfel are leading the Patriots so far this year. At the Bob Schul, Brown finished with a 26:08.1. Holzapfel crossed the finish line just outside of the top 100 runners (26:42.4). They led their team to a 13th place finish. Brown bested her previous time in the second meet to earn 38th place with a 25:22.8. Holzapfel wasn’t far behind with a 26:28.9.

Chance Gilliland, Alex Knepshield, and freshman Alex Schmitmeyer are the boys to watch at Franklin Monroe. Gilliland and Knepshield were the top two at the first meet, but Schmitmeyer passed Knepshield for second best on the team at the Treaty City Invitational. Both Gilliland and Schmitmeyer improved their times in the second meet. Knepshield only lost two seconds on his previous time.

Danielle McVey and Taylor Hackney are leading the Lady Jets this year. McVey has scored times of 25:48.8 and 24:33 while Hackney has posted 27:30.9 and 25:40

The Blackhawks have very few options this year on their Cross Country teams. Colyn Nelson is the lone runner for the boys. He has posted times of 22:53.5 and 22:13.

Megan Wilson and Whitney King have led the girls’ team. Wilson has posted times of 29:01.4 and 26:46 while King has improved from 30:03.4 to 29:07.

In their first meet of the season, Dawson Roberts earned a 10th place finish with a time of 20:09.5 and Charles Baron was on two finishing places behind with a 21:23.3. Roberts and Baron continued to lead the team at the Treaty City Invitational by posting 19:49 and 20:15, respectively.

Alexi Bocanegra and Emma Barton seem to be evenly matched on the course. Bocanegra bested Baron in the first meet of the season, but Baron was able to reverse the roles at the Treaty City.

Ryan Willoughby and Austin Alexander are the entire boys cross country team at Ansonia. After two races, Willoughby and Alexander have flip-flopped on who will be the team leader. Willoughby has about a 30-second advantage over Alexander having posted times of 24:09 and 22:33. Alexander has posted times of 24:34 and 23:06.

Stefanie Garret has led the way for the Tigers ladies. She has run times of 25:40 and 23:47. Skyler Marker and Katie Werts have flip-flopped in the first two meets with Marker getting the best of Werts in the opener with a time of 25:59. Werts came back at the Treat City to best Marker with a time of 24:11.

Taylor Hackney has so far been one of the top two runners in the Lady Jets arsenal. (Ryan Berry photo)

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