|Division III State Preview:
The story thus far in d3 is the emergence of Fort Loramie as the favorite over Minster. In recent meetings between the two the gap has actually widened. Following a squeak by win a few weeks ago, the margin has grown to a 47-74 Troy Regional victory. Led by frosh Mallory Albers and sophomore Megan Meinerding and a solid pack, FL has canceled out Minster's frontrunning advantage with Sunni Olding and Joanna Gruber. At the Troy Regional, Olding won, but Albers was second. Meinderding was 5th and Gruber 7th. That already gave FL a 7-8 advantage with 3 runners to go. That is where FL's pack was too much for Minster to overcome. Overlooked in this battle was a solid 3rd place finish by Versailles in the state's toughest regional.
All that came out of Lancaster was Barnesville and frosh sensation Jenny Morgan. Morgan won yet again to remain undefeated on the year.
At Boardman it was McDonald dominating behind Jess and Jen Wenhold. Jen finished second to Norwayne's Nicole Camp and led McDonald to a convincing victory over Berkshire.
At Tiffin it was the individual race that was more exciting. Bluffton's Carrie Fett and Hopewell Loudon's Carime Reinhart battled until Fett pulled away for a 6 second win over Reinhart. Reinhart did get some retribution as HL won the team title over Lakota.
The team race will be between six teams: Fort Loramie, Minster, Barnesville, McDonald, Hopewell Loudon, and Versailles. But, in reality it is a two team race between FL and Minster. Barnesville has a frontrunner in Jenny Morgan, but with her sister, Molly Morgan still less than 100% that will be too much to overcome. McDonald has Jess and Jen Wenhold, and Nicole Booth, but would need the Tondor sisters and Erin Koppell to step up to contend. HL is strong with the Reinhart sisters, Amy Jacobs and Jenna Dandurand, but really are lacking a fifth. Versailles has no true frontrunner and is lacking a fifth as well. Olding and Gruber may have a slight advantage over Albers and Meinerding, but 3-5 goes to FL. Brittany Winner will have to return to her 18th place overall form of last year for Minster to contend. Elizabeth Philpot, Amanda Subler, and Kiera Gottemoeller are stronger than Minster's 3-5 and continue to increase the gap each week.
Advantage: Fort Loramie.
The individual race will likely come down to a showdown between Sunni Olding and Jenny Morgan. Early in the season they both looked unstoppable, but as of late Olding has begun to fade a bit. Her early season performances appeared to indicate that she was over her aversion to XC and was ready to step up, now I'm not so sure. She has tremendous talent on the track, but once again that is in the mile more than in the two. Morgan appears to be on fire right now and really knows what it takes to win. The only runner that can break in here would be a healthy Carime Reinhart. Reinhart appears to still be reeling from the end of her Track season, but if she puts it together, watch out. Remember, she challenged Angela Homan and ran 17:59 at last year's state meet. Carrie Fett appears to be just on the outside of this with Jen Wenhold. I think Morgan's tenacity will outrun Olding's legspeed and be too much to overcome.
Advantage: Jenny Morgan, Barnesville.