OTTAWA — The Van Wert High School boys’ cross country team won its second consecutive Division II team district championship held at Ottawa Park on Saturday, while Caylee Phillips won the girls’ individual championship.
The Cougars scored 70 points and held off 11 other teams, including runner-up Ottawa-Glandorf (77 points) and third place team Lima Shawnee (80 points) to win back-to-back district titles for the first time since 2011-2012.
The Cougars won the Division II district championship, while Caylee Phillips won the girls individual title. Photo submitted
Sophomore Jacob Wasson led the way for Van Wert, finishing fourth overall with a season-best time of 17:01. Senior Gage Chiles was the second Cougar finisher, placing seventh and covering the 5K course with a lifetime best time of 17:14. Freshman Hunter Sherer again ran a solid race as the team’s third finisher, placing 12th overall while running a 17:33. Junior Holden Reichert (23rd, 18:05) and freshman Gage Wannemacher (27th, 18:13) rounded out the scoring for Van Wert.
“Our goal coming into today was to be the best team racing version of ourselves to date,” head coach Ryan Holliday said. “We knew if we did that, we would put ourselves in great position to defend our title.”
“I’m really proud of our guys and their efforts, and the good news is we have room to improve as we look toward the regional meet.”
Junior Caylee Phillips was the individual champion on the girls’ side, and she led the Lady Cougars squad with her victory. Phillips won the race by running a 19:44.
“Caylee came in knowing that if she ran her race, she’d put herself in position for the win,” Holliday said. “She has become so confident in who she is and how she races. Today was just another step for her.”
Sophomore Rachel Spath was the team’s second finisher, placing 18th in 21:39. Junior Ali Gemmer (26th, 22:23), sophomore Kirsten Dunning (47th, 23:32), and senior Caton Williamson (50th, 24:27) rounded out the team’s top 5 scoring. The girls placed seventh out of 11 teams.
The boys team will compete next Saturday in the Division II regional championship meet in Tiffin at 11:45 a.m., while Phillips will race on the girls’ side at 2:15 p.m.