In the Division I race, Kent Roosevelt had something to prove. Last year's state runner-up and regional champions placed a disappointing fourth at last week's district meet. The Rough Riders definitely proved their point Saturday.
Roosevelt captured the Division I regional crown by besting early favorite Strongsville by some 34 points. The Rough Riders third runner, Sarah Hensley, ran inspired and captured a second-place finish.
"She (Hensley) is a great example of someone stepping up," said Roosevelt coach Brian Botzman. "Last week, her time was 22:56, today she ran a 19:39."
Roosevelt also got big performances by Erin Anderson, Jen Hollinger, and Kelly Felter. The three placed sixth through eighth, respectively.
"We basically ran our best team race of the season," said Botzman. "They ran a very intelligent race."
Stow placed a disappointing seventh place. However, there was something to cheer about for Stow fans. Junior Treniere Clement finished in third place, qualifying her as an individual for state.
The Division II race was just as exciting as the defending state champion Field Falcons moved one step closer to repeating as they captured the regional title. Junior Emily Mars continued to impress as she dominated the race to capture another first-place finish.
Kathy Shell and Heather Patch finished eighth and ninth, respectively, to add to the winning point total.
Field coach Bill Huntington remains optimistic about his team's chances of repeating at state.
"These girls will give it a shot," said Huntington. "They have been there before and if they are healthy they will be in the hunt."
Southeast standout sophomore Susan Graves also qualified for the state tournament, as an individual, despite being injured for most of the season.
"She had two goals this season," said Southeast coach Ray Sheetz. "One was to be all league, which she was voted. The other was to make state."
Woodridge also joined the ranks of teams who will be going to the state tournament by placing fourth in the Division III race. Senior Tiffany Morgan led the way for Woodridge with her fourth-place finish.
"I am very happy to get out," said Woodridge coach Jeff Howard. "We beat some teams that we were probably not supposed to."
Rootstown failed to qualify, placing eighth.
"I am really proud of them," said head coach Larry Bailey. "They have qualified regionally four years in a row. I believe we are the most improved team in the region."
Garfield's Kim Tilly also failed to qualify, finishing 29th.
The boys side of things was a different story, and disappointment was the theme for area teams.
In the Division I race, Kent Roosevelt fell just short of qualifying with a fourth-place finish _ the top three qualify for state.
The Rough Riders top runner, senior Benji Galizio, finished 17th, two spots from qualifying as an individual.
The Division II race was more of the same.
Defending state champion Field also failed to qualify with a fourth-place finish. Senior Mike Hall qualified as an individual, finishing 10th.
"We really should have qualified," said Huntington. "I do not know why these things happen. Mike qualifying is good, but the team would have been better."
Southeast joined in Field's woes. The Pirates were eliminated with their finish in sixth place. Senior Mike Nelson qualified as an individual by finishing fourth.
"We are not going to make excuses," said Southeast coach Bob Dunn. "On our best day we had a shot, but it was not our best day."
Rootstown, Woodridge and Garfield were all eliminated as they finished ninth through twelfth, respectively, in Division III.
Garfield sophomore Colin Ricks qualified as an individual by placing seventh. Teammate Paul Vincent, a second-place finisher at the district meet, failed to qualify after leading for a large portion of the race.
"I am really disappointed for Paul," said Garfield coach Dick Brockett. "Colin realized his potential this week and applied himself. It was bittersweet though."
Mogadore senior Andy Graham, also earned a chance to compete at the state tournament with his seventh-place finish.
"I came to this course to practice this week," said Graham. "I felt confident that I could do well."