The August heatwave continued for the Perrysburg High School Girls Cross Country team's trip to The Tiger Classic.
Plenty of sun, a mid-day start time and no trees on the course combined to make for uncomfortable racing conditions – even uncomfortable for an everyday training run – but the Yellow Jackets still managed to improve their time gap between the No. 1 and No. 5 finishers on the team.
Senior Aubrey Duhaime led the way for Perrysburg with a third-place finish as she crossed the line in 19 minutes 4.36 seconds. Freshman Ava Beeks once again ran with Duhaime for much of the race as Beeks set a personal record of 19:11.10.
"Having someone to compete against while also having healthy competition makes it easier to run," said Beeks. "Just being able to work together with Aubrey makes us better teammates."
Sophomore Sydney Daudelin finished 13th overall and third for the Yellow Jackets with a time of 20:39.75. Rounding out the top five were sophomore Anna Dalton (16th overall, 20:52.77) and junior AnnaSophia Gower (18th overall, 20:57.96). The Jackets ultimately closed their time gap between these five runners to 1:53, from a gap of 2:13 the week prior at the OHSAA Early Season Invitational.
"If the time gap continues to improve, that will be key to compete with the top few teams in the state," said Perrysburg Head Coach Jon Monheim.
Shaker Heights and Medina are two of the top teams in the state that also competed in The Tiger Classic. Shaker Heights finished third overall at the 2020 OHSAA Division I Girls State Cross Country Championship and won the Black Division race at Seneca East High School with 31 points. Perrysburg finished second scoring 52 points.
Freshman Natalie Sanders (23rd overall, 21:21.14) moved into the Yellow Jackets’ top seven as she finished sixth on the team. Junior Sophie Smith (24th overall, 21:23.92) rounded out the top seven for Perrysburg.
This meet at Seneca East High School was the first chance for every member of the team to race together in a weekend invitational. At many invitationals, there is a varsity race featuring the top seven harriers on a team's roster and an open race. The Tiger Classic typically has one race where every member of a team runs together since it is one of the first events of the season.
Twelve freshmen, one sophomore and one junior all ran in their first high school cross country race at The Tiger Classic. Sanders led this group with her 23rd place finish. Freshman Laura Valette (67th overall, 23:07.95) was second in this pack of newcomers at The Tiger Classic.
"Although there was a lot of inexperience toeing the line here in Attica, they raced smart and it led to a great finish," said Monheim.