PICKERINGTON — Washington High School sophomore Cloe Copas made her Regional cross country tournament debut on a cold, drizzly, misty Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27 at Pickerington North High School.
The conditions being far from ideal, but not unexpected for late October, the runners may not have turned in their fastest times.
Copas placed 84th in a field of 151 runners with a time of 21:49.0.
Madisan DeBos of Tuscarawas Valley won the Regional Division II title with a time of 18:57.4.
Logan Elm’s Emma Lands was 23rd in 20:08.8.
Mazie Wechter of Jackson was 65th in 21:28.3.
Lily Winter of Circleville was 83rd in 21:47.7.
Indy Spetnagel of Unioto was 87th in 22:02.0.
Mollie McCreary of Hillsboro was 97th in a time of 22:15.3.
The top six teams and the individuals who finished in the top 24 advance to Saturday’s State meet at the National Trail Raceway.
Tuscarawas Valley won the Division II Regional title with 89 placement points.
Minerva was second with 96 and Fairfield Union was third with 97 points.
Buckeye Valley was fourth with 135 points, Jonathan Alder was fifth with 147 team points and Bexley was sixth with 166 total placement points.
From the Frontier Athletic Conference, Jackson placed 19th with 491 placement points.
“I’m not disappointed,” Copas said. “With the weather, I ran a good time. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but since it was really muddy it was okay.
“I finished where I was supposed to, in comparison to the other people in our league,” Copas said. “I finished near girls that I had been consistently finishing near (during the season).
“(The course) was a whole lot worse than at Rio Grande,” Copas said. “The course on Saturday was really bad. There was mud everywhere. Back in the woods, the first mile was really muddy. I got off to a rough start and I couldn’t get ahead of everybody. Usually I like to get out hard and try to go faster. I had to do it a little differently than I usually do.
“Usually, I like to get out super hard and then slow down,” Copas said. “(Saturday) I had to do the opposite. I had to go out kind of slower and then speed up. I finished where I thought I should, but I got a little bit nervous at first when it wasn’t like how I usually run.
“I usually get really nervous before every race,” Copas said. “I didn’t have my team with me. I was by myself. Usually at the start line I talk and joke with (my teammates) before the gun and that takes my mind off of stuff.
“I wanted to run a 20:30 to a 21-flat,” Copas said. “But, it was too muddy and I couldn’t get my footing. In the woods, there was so much mud everywhere.”
Copas reflected on the 2018 season.
“I’ve been really happy with it,” Copas said. “It’s gone how I wanted it to. I had a goal in the summer to go to Regionals, but I didn’t know if I was going to.
“After the league meet I felt really confident,” Copas said. “When I ran at Districts, I felt good; I felt like I was going to make it (to Regionals) and I did. I feel really happy with this season and hopefully next season will be even better.”
“I think she was very well prepared,” Washington head coach Ryan Day said. “I think early in the race she got boxed in in the space between the woods and the softball field. She never really recovered in terms of her place after that.
“She ran strong,” Day said. “She felt confident. She, like I think many of the other runners, struggled with the mud. As we walked the course, we saw a spot in the woods where the mud was probably four to six inches deep. There were some other spots, as well. By the time Cloe ran, that was the fifth of six races that day.
“Of course, everyone had to run through the mud,” Day said. “The times were much slower than people were hoping and Cloe was no different.
“There was probably a little disappointment from her perspective,” Day said. “I don’t look at it that way. I’m proud of her for getting that far, making such a huge stride over her freshman year. I know she’s encouraged and motivated for next year.”