West Liberty-Salem competed in the Division III state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron on Saturday.
The Big Orange Boys finished in 16th place during their third consecutive trip to the state meet.
Joey Adams - 64th - 17:18.71
Chris Buschur - 98th - 17:52.12
Alex Steiner - 118th - 18:08.74
Ross Kelley - 122nd - 18:16.28
Michael Lehman - 138th - 19:10.38
Charlie Williams - 141st - 19:42.15
Chris Davis - 143rd - 19:49.89
Boys head coach Mike Louden commented:
"Told the guys despite the 16th place finish they had nothing to be ashamed of, because 200 other Division III schools would have given anything to have been in their spot. We weren't even supposed to make it to the state meet, and had you asked me half way through the season with two key guys injured, it looked pretty bleak, so for the guys to overcome that adversity and proof critics wrong was awesome in itself."
"It is an awesome upside knowing that six of my top seven will be back next year to build on what they have started, but for Chris Buschur, our lone senior, it was his last career race. After the race I thanked him for everything he had done over his six years with the program and how all of the success this team has had is in large part due to him. Chris is and always will be part of the Big Orange!"
"Though they were disappointed, I was amazed at just how positive the guys were after the meet. As a whole they all told me that this was a learning experience and that they would use this as a reminder during training that they must do more to improve on their 16th-place finish next season. I expect this winter and spring to be productive before summer conditioning rolls around."
"Probably the thing I'm most excited about and proud of is the fact that five of my runners earned All Academic Ohio this year. The student must be a state participant and have a cumulative 3.5 GPA and freshmen aren't eligible to earn this honor. Chris Davis, Chris Buschur, Alex Steiner, Michael Lehman, and Joey Adams all earned this distinction."
West Liberty-Salem senior Alyssa Strickland capped off a stellar high school cross country career placing 94th (21:05) at the D3 girls state meet Saturday.
Strickland is one of only seven female cross country runners who qualified for the state meet four consecutive years and ranks #3 all time for the WLS girls cross country program.
Head coach Ann Vogel said, "Alyssa didn't have the race she wanted Saturday, but it does not define her career as a member of the Big Orange cross country program. Her determination and work ethic have left a mark on the program for others to follow in years to come. Athletes like Alyssa make me a better coach."