High school cross country: Central Catholic boys win first district title in 22 years
October 21, 2023
PLAIN TWP. — The Central Catholic boys cross country team's long chase is finally over.
After collecting one runner-up trophy after the other at the district meet, the Crusaders were finally able to get their hands on some gold hardware.
Central won their first district title in 22 years in Saturday's Division III boys race at GlenOak. The stretch included the previous five meets which saw the Crusaders finish second to East Canton each time.
"Obviously East Canton has always been a power over that span," Central head coach John Paul said. "We always have been kind of like the stepsister that's in the way."
The Crusaders were front and center this time. So were a few other area boys teams.
Two-time defending state champion Marlington began the postseason by winning the Division II team title. Jackson topped the field in Division I.
Marlington's Colin Cernansky
and Jackson's Eli Ilg won their races. An individual champion was not required for Central.
The Crusaders' highest finisher was Carlos Cantera-Quintero, who came in 13th. The big difference for Central was where Cantera-Quintero's teammates followed. Ben Reese, Easton Miller, Grant Eberhardt and Nick Hallaman all finished between 21st and 25th.
"That nice pack we have, they really improved by over a minute over the course of the last year," Paul said. "We came into today 30 seconds from our 1 to 5. If you can do that, that's pretty good."
The Crusaders stopped their district title drought in the face of adversity. Eberhardt, their No. 1 runner, has been dealing with an injury. Dominic DePasquale did not race Saturday.
Despite that, the Crusaders have a postseason win and momentum under their belts.
"State has been their goal," Paul said. "... You just never know. If you ever get a pack like that, you have a shot.
The Crusaders Boys Cross Country Team, along with senior runner from the Girls Team, Allison Ries, head to Regionals at Boardman today.