by MICHAEL LEONARD | SPORTS EDITOR
Heading into the Division I state cross country meet, Twinsburg coach Sarah Kmet knew her team was short on state experience, with one exception.
Thus, Kmet's expectations didn't include a state team title.
However, by the time the dust settled Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, the Tigers had accomplished a few things in their first trip to states.
Top 10 team finish? Check.
Top 10 individual finish for junior Garrett Crichlow? Check.
Personal-record times for every member of the team? Check.
Needless to say, it was impossible to wipe the smile off Kmet's face after the race.
Twinsburg finished 10th in the Division I boys team race with 241 points. The Tigers finished one place ahead of Solon (246 points).
Cincinnati St. Xavier won the boys team race with 71 points, well ahead of runner-up Mason (123 points).
Kmet was hugging everything after the race.
"Every boy ran a personal record," Kmet said. "I couldn't have asked for anything more from these guys."
All eyes were on Crichlow after his 18th-place finish last year at states. Crichlow was with a tight lead back for at least the first two miles.
"It was all clumped up early on," Kmet said. "All the guys were pushing each other. Garrett was very much in the zone today. He ran just about a perfect race."
"I wanted to sit back and conserve myself a little for the finish," Crichlow said, noting he was using Walsh Jesuit's Brian Brennan as a guidepost. "He's a really good person to work with."
The pack finally separated a bit in final mile, but Crichlow was in among the leaders to the very end.
Crichlow ended up finishing eighth in 15:33.43, bettering his personal record by nearly 16 seconds.
Tipp City Tippecanoe's Sam Wharton won the individual title in a smoking fast time of 15:09.59.
Brennan finished third in 15:22.63.
Crichlow made it clear he wants to take aim at the school record next year, while Kmet said Crichlow can make a run at the individual state title next fall.
"We talked about next season already," Kmet said. "He can win it next year."
Crichlow said his focus for the rest of this school year is winning the Division I title in the 1,600-meter run during track season.
The race was so quick that the first 37 runners all broke the 16-minute barrier.
Junior No. 2 runner Nick Schank was hoping to be among that group, but he narrowly missed. He still ran a personal-best time of 16:08.17 as he finished in 50th place.
Senior Ryan Scanlon (99th, 16:38.06), freshman Josh Gogan (102nd, 16:39.27) and senior Chris Reed (109th, 16:41.92) rounded out the scoring runs for Twinsburg.
Junior Matt Andrews (115th, 16:45.79) and senior Jake Sherer (141st, 17:23.88) also ran at states for Twinsburg.
Kmet said she and her charges plan to make sure these trips to states become a regular occurrence.
"They've already talked about building a legacy," Kmet said. "The level of excitement for cross country is going way up at Twinsburg."