In a meet filled with teams from Northeast Ohio, the lone school from Northwest Ohio joined together for a swarm toward the finish line.
Seven Yellow Jacket harriers worked together to finish in the top nine overall spots in the Open race at the Strongsville Fleet Feet Cross Country Invitational. Sophomore Anna Dalton was the overall individual winner with a time of 20 minutes 47.12 seconds.
Junior Sage Colon finished second in 20:55 after making a move two miles in the race to challenge Dalton for the top overall spot.
Sophomore Aubrey Wyckoff (21:34), junior Brooke Daudelin (21:39), freshman Laura Valette (21:45.10), plus juniors Ella Sibbersen (21:45.83) and Lydia Reiter (21:50) took finishing spots five, six, seven, eight and nine, respectively. Perrysburg's time gap between its first and seventh runners in the Open race was 1:03.
"To get seven out of nine in a race that had 285 kids from good programs is no easy task," Perrysburg Girls Cross Country Head Coach Jon Monheim said.
The Varsity race preceding the Open race at Strongsville High School showed finishing times would be faster due to a change in the course, which occurred in 2020. While this meet in Strongsville is a fixture on the schedule for the Perrysburg Cross Country program, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Yellow Jackets did not compete at this event in Strongsville during fall 2020.
Senior Aubrey Duhaime showed she could beat the clock on this new course as she improved her career best time by three seconds after crossing the finish line in 18:24.72 - good for third overall. Duhaime is now three seconds away from breaking the Perrysburg High School Girls Cross Country record.
Duhaime was not the only one in the Varsity race to finish with a strong time. Five Yellow Jackets finished under 20 minutes while a sixth was a second off from breaking the twenty-minute barrier.
Freshman Ava Beeks finished sixth overall with a time of 18:54.
Sophomore Sydney Daudelin ran her best time in 2021 with a 19:31 performance. Freshman Natalie Sanders (19:48), junior AnnaSophia Gower (19:59) and sophomore Taylor Moody (20:00) all ran season bests in Strongsville. The finishing times for Sanders and Moody were also personal records for the two Yellow Jackets.
"Having Taylor right on my tail the whole time and having a teammate right behind me pushed me the whole race," Gower said.
Junior Sophie Smith (20:56) was the seventh finisher for Perrysburg in the Varsity race as teams could enter up to nine girls.
"It was good competition," Gower said. "We have so many girls competing for Varsity spots. I guess competing against our own teammates all pushed us to do a lot better."
Overall, 40 girls in the Perrysburg program raced at the Strongsville Fleet Feet Cross Country Invitational with 14 of those harriers setting lifetime personal records.
The Yellow Jackes have one regular season invitational remaining before the Northern Lakes League Cross Country Championship on October 16 at Whiteford Valley Golf Club in Ottawa Lake, Michigan. Monheim says he is looking for consistency from his side with the post season around the corner.
"Some of the girls had breakthrough races (in Strongsville)," Monheim said. "Now they need to have 'stay there' races."