The Avon Lake boys cross country team grabbed fourth place, the last state qualifying team slot, at Saturday’s Division I Tiffin regional meet. Scoring 123 points to beat out the state’s 15th ranked Sylvania Southview (fifth, 131 points), the No. 18-ranked Shoremen finished behind No. 2 Medina (first, 64 points), No. 5 St. Ignatius (second, 101) and No. 14 Toledo St. Francis (third, 116) to advance to Saturday’s Division I race at Scioto Downs in Columbus, scheduled to begin at 12:35 p.m.
While the Shoremen competed at the state meet in the mid-’90s, this is the first time in school history they qualified as a Division I team.
Senior co-captains Justin Housley and Mike Parsons paced the Shoremen. Housley placed 14th with a time of 16:00.55. Parsons finished 18th with a time of 16:10.22. Junior Connor Musial (31st, 16:35.13), senior Matt Marron (32nd, 16:35.54), junior Trevor Norris (44, 16:42.74), junior Francesco Maiorca (49, 16:48.08) and sophomore Tom Parsons (82, 17:14.09) rounded out the scoring.
This latest achievement caps off a stellar season for the Shoremen. Avon Lake won the Southwestern Conference meet for the second year in a row (and third time in school history) earlier in October. The Shoremen also won two other invitationals and placed third and fourth at two others.
The Avon Lake girls placed 11th out of 16 teams, finishing with 254 points. Leading the Shoregals were Annie Wennerberg (19th, 19:20.34) and Katy Link (28th, 19:29.82) in the top 30. Jessica Lambert (63, 20:24.09) and Maddie Furrer (68, 20:30.86) finished among the top 70 runners.
The Shoremen cross country team appears to have a bright future ahead of them as well, with the JV and middle school teams having successful seasons recently. The JV team won the SWC crown the last two years, and with more than 75 boys on the middle school and high school rosters, a Shoremen legacy appears to be building.