Alter wins elusive state title; Infeld defends D-II individual crown


Beaumont’s Emily Infeld
Kettering Alter came through for the school's first cross country state title on Saturday at Scioto Downs. The Knights captured the Division II team title after three straight second place finishes. Other big winners at the OHSAA's girls state meet were Versailles who won the D-III team title after finishing fourth at regionals and Beaumont's Emily Infeld who defended her D-II individual title.

By Ian Mara

COLMBUS – After crossing the finish line of the Division II cross country state championship race at Scioto Downs in first place, Beaumont's Emily Infeld was asked by a race official how she felt.

The senior rotated her hand back and forth in the universally accepted signal for 'so-so,' as she steadily walked back to the water station. For the next 10 minutes Infeld tended to several of her teammates who were struggling physically to recover from the race.

Everything about Infeld's second consecutive individual cross country championship, from her personal-best time of 17:30 Saturday to her calm demeanor in the moments after victory, seemed to be just another day at office.

The margin was 42 seconds for Infeld who ran by herself for virtually the entire course. Walsh Jesuit junior Chelsea Oswald finished second, followed by Kettering Alter's Hilary Esslestein (18:22).

“It feels good,” Infeld said. “I'm really happy to win.”

Perhaps the best compliment of Infeld's performance came from Oswald, who Saturday finished second to her for the third time this year.

“She's an amazing athlete,” Oswald said. “She was a beast out there.”

Not to be outdone were Esslestein and Alter, which ended a three-year streak of second place finishes with the program’s first-ever team title.

“It's just a huge relief,” said Alter coach Matt Sableski, whose team finished with 94 points. “We needed this result.”

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy placed second (111), followed by Beaumont (123) in third.

The Alter pack was the difference, as its 2-5 runner finished 34th, 40th, 43rd and 47th.

“It was just a great effort today,” Sableski said. “Every girl ran a PR.”

Worthington Kilbourne senior Claire Durkin was every bit as dominant as Infeld in winning the Division I title.

Durkin, undefeated as a senior, ran a division-record time of 17:10, breaking by five seconds the mark set by Salem's Jenni Brown in 1992.

“I've been worrying about this race the entire season,” said Durkin, who like Infeld was never tested. “This was my ultimate goal.”

2005 individual champ Brooklyne Ridder of Oak Hills finished runner-up for the second straight season in 17:38, followed by Springboro freshman Carly Hamilton (18:12).

The D-I team title went to Brecksville Broadview-Heights, which captured its firt-ever state championship with a 115-120 win over Rocky River Magnificat. Massillon Jackson (132) finished third.

The biggest surprise of the day may have been in Division III, where Versailles, a fourth-place finisher at the Troy regional, won its second team championship. Versailles edged runner-up Gilmour Academy by just a single point, 119-120. Minster wasn't too far behind finishing third with 124.

Barnesville junior Stephanie Morgan won the individual race by more than a minute, running a 17:27 to beat Fort Loramie freshman Janel Olberding (18:28.75).

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