Tuesday (Sept. 17) was that rare occasion when parents and followers of the Oldenburg Academy cross country teams could see the Twister athletes in action on their home course.
Hosting the Waldron Mohawks on senior night, the Oldenburg runners snaked around the Sisters of St. Francis Cemetery well enough to pick up a comfortable victory in the boys race, 22 points to 39. Only three girls total toed the starting line Tuesday, for a pair of incomplete scores.
Head coach Joe Price likes not only his team’s competitiveness, but also its camaraderie.
“This team really enjoys running,” he pointed out, “and have (developed) friendships. It’s kind of neat to see them during recovery runs, getting together and chatting away.”
The visiting Mohawks were able to secure the top individual medals at the dual meet. Madeline Douglas was far out in front among the trio of girls, winning in 19:46. Jacob James, a returning state finalist, put over a minute between himself and the runner-up; his time was 16:31.
A threesome of OA runners then essentially clinched the win, easily nabbing spots two through four. Seniors Aaron Weber and Dylan Fledderman led the small pack across the finish line, the former recording a 17:41 and the latter a 17:46. Junior Tyler Kuntz was just a step behind at 17:49.
“They are our three top runners and it’s been an exciting year for them,” said their coach. “They’re always pushing each other. It’s not always the same one winning (among them). As the season’s gone on, the three of them are running better and better times.”
WHS’ Ethan Trueblood was 5th (18:42), followed by OA junior Peter Heile (19:46) and freshman Carter Walsman (20:17).
Price may need his fourth and fifth spots to narrow the 2-minute gap behind the leaders, if the Twisters wish to repeat their postseason success from last fall. Oldenburg’s boys qualified for regional as a team and sent Fledderman and Kuntz on to semistate.
“This is a much stronger team than last year’s, all the boys are running really well,” he stated. “We definitely want to go to regional as a team and have a few make semistate. We have high hopes this year.”
In the 8th spot was Waldron’s Dustin Olive (20:40), but OA rounded out the top 10 as sophomores Carson Wolber and Drew Diekhoff ran 20:57 and 21:08, respectively. Ryan Oliver (24:32), David Miller (24:34) and Ethan Richardson (26:19) finished up for the Mohawks.
Senior Sarah Price was the second finisher in the girls race, clocking a 24:33. Waldron’s Hailey Redelman took the final spot at 30:12.
Coach Price, whose assistants include wife Angie, spoke about his trio of seniors.
“I’ve coached this team the last three years and watched them grow since they were freshmen to the young adults they are now,” he reflected. “And Sarah, it’s been neat to see her enjoy the sport of running and make a lot of friends. This is just a nice group of seniors we have this year.”
Oldenburg is scheduled to run Saturday morning at the South Dearborn Invitational.