Peninsula Woodbridge, Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas defend titles


Walter and John Luttrell
Peninsula Woodbridge and Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas defend their Division II and III state team titles, respectively, Saturday at the OHSAA Boys Cross Country State Tournament at Scioto Downs. Dayton Christian's Walter Luttrell defeated his twin brother John for the individual D-III state title. Sandusky Perkins' Cory Leslie took home the D-II hardware. Mason swept the D-I race.

COLUMBUS – There was no more dominant cross country team in Ohio last year than the boys from Woodbridge High School in Peninsula. In capturing the program's first-ever state title in the sport, the 2006 Bulldogs set the state's team scoring record, winning by 109 points.

But given that that Woodbridge team boasted a lineup with four seniors, what the ’07 Bulldogs did at Scioto Downs on Saturday becomes all the more remarkable.

Paced by senior Brian Himelright's third-place individual finish, Woodbridge captured it's second consecutive Division II team title.Woodbridge finished with 82 points, 19 ahead of runner-up Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit and 30 in front of Canal-Winchester.
Cory Leslie of Sandusky Perkins won the individual title in a time of 15:33.

Jerrod Eick of Alliance Marlington was second (15:47.56), with Himelright third in 15:47.92.

“There's no better feeling than winning a team championship,” Himelright said afterwards. “But it's a different feeling this year, there are different emotions.”

Following Himelright in a tight Woodbridge pack were junior Michael Rhodes (32nd), Tony Marette (34th) and Joe White (35th). Woodbridge's fifth place came from freshman Jimmy Charles, who ran a 16:46.

Head coach Jeff Howard said this year's team was the smartest he has ever coached, something which made filling the holes from last year much easier.

“Last year all we had to do was stay healthy and we were going to win it,” Howard said. “This year's team takes care of each other and fought for each other – that's what great teams do.”

The boys Division III race featured one of the day's best finishes, as Dayton Christian senior Walter Luttrell edged his twin brother John by 27 one-hundreths of a second.

“I think it was exciting for the crowd, seeing two twins out there in the front,” said Walter, who raised both arms above his head as he crossed the finish line.

“Even when we got in the stadium I thought I had it,” said John. “But it's hard to be too upset.”

Louisville's St. Thomas Aquinas captured its second straight team title and fifth overall, scoring 54 points to win comfortably over McDonald. The fifth championship ties Aquinas with five other schools (including McDonald) for the second-most all-time behind the nine of Caldwell.

In Division I Medina completed a sweep, as the boys won their first-ever team title and junior Donny Roye took the individual championship with a 15:21.

“I'm not sure if it's fully hit me yet, but it feels good,” said Roye, who edged Dan Thaler St. Xavier by a second. Jackson's Dave Rafailedes was third in 15:30.

Medina scored 76 points, well clear of Centerville with a 127. North Canton Hoover was third with 157.

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