Ansonia High School Girls team L-R: Ellie Pierre, Peyton Billenstein, Deanna Moody, Alliyah Hall, Emily Kelly, and Emily Wright

Ansonia XC runners place well at Districts

“It is always great when you can finish the season knowing that your last race was your best race,” Ansonia XC Coach Jason Wright.

CEDARVILLE – Cedarville University hosted 34 cross country teams from around the Miami Valley area to compete in the OHSAA Southwest District Championships on the grounds of the Elvin R. King cross country raceway with the teams clashing for their claim at a title.

The Ansonia Tigers Cross Country teams competed in the D III races and came home with numerous formidable individual and team finishes.

In the girls race, Peyton Billenstein led the Lady Tigers with a 36th place overall finish in a time of 21:33.7, setting a new PR for the season. Next in for the girls was Alliyah Hall, followed by Deanna Moody, Emily Wright, and Emily Kelly to round out the top 5 for the Tigers.

The Ansonia girls capped off a great 2021 season with all six Lady Tigers setting new personal records on the day.

“I am so proud of our girls team and what they were able to do today,” said Ansonia cross country coach, Jason Wright. “Some of our girls were able to run well over a minute quicker than any of the other times they posted all season.”

“It is always great when you can finish the season knowing that your last race was your best race,” added Wrights, “and our team finish was equally impressive.”

Ansonia High School Girls results:

Peyton Billenstein   21:33.7

Alliyah Hall   23:38.3

Deanna Moody   24:33.8

Emily Wright   25:21.3

Emily Kelly   25:26.4

Ellie Pierre   25:32.9

Team placed 12th

Next on the course were the men’s teams to contend for their spot at Regionals. Ansonia runner, Matthew Lee crossed the tape in 25th place overall, earning a spot at the Regional Championship next weekend at Troy. Lee also set a new Ansonia High School men’s record with a time of 17:37.4, a record that has stood for nearly a decade.

“What Matthew was able to do today was truly historic,” said Coach Wright. “He set a new school record and earned a spot at next week’s Regionals in Troy. But what has been most impressive to me is the turnaround that Matthew has made for himself.”

“Last year, as a freshman, his PR was a 21:21. Since the end of last season, he has committed himself to pushing harder and going farther,” Wright continued. “He worked all spring and summer this past year to get to this position. He is proof to anyone that if you want something bad enough, and you are willing to dedicate yourself to working every day for it, you can reach your goals. I am so happy for him today. Nobody deserves this more than he does.”

Not to be outdone, the rest of the Tiger team posted their best finishes of the season. Senior, Andrew Thornhill, set a new career best time for himself of 18:36.6 and sophomore, Matthew Barga, came in at 18:47.2.

When Ethan Sparks [Fr.] and Ian Brown [Jr.] came across the finish, they sealed a 13th place team finish for Ansonia in a field represented by 33 Miami Valley area schools.

“Our guys had a tremendous day today,” Coach Wright stated. “Their individual finishes were some of the best we have seen in a long time – and our team finish was superb.”

“Arguably one of the best finishes that an Ansonia men’s group has seen in at least 10 years,” added Wright. “Again, to see these guys come out and continue to get better and faster each week just shows how hard they continue to push themselves. I believe there are many more great races ahead for these guys over the next few seasons.”

Matthew Lee finished in a time of 17:37.4 setting a new school record and earning a spot to the Regional Championship next weekend at Troy.

Ansonia High School Boys results:

Matthew Lee   17:37.4

Andrew Thornhill   18:36.6

Matthew Barga   18:47.2

Ethan Sparks   19:17.2

Ian Brown   19:30.4

Scott Ritchie   24:53.1

Austin Obringer   26:26.8

Team placed 13th

Ansonia HSB team pictured left to right: Coach Wright, Matthew Lee, Scott Ritchie, Matt Barga, Austin Obringer, Ethan Sparks, Ian Brown, Landyn Gabriel, and Andrew Thornhill.
Matthew Lee finished in a time of 17:37.4 setting a new school record and earning a spot to the Regional Championship next weekend at Troy.
Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser

Gaylen Blosser / Publisher

Gaylen Blosser is a sports enthusiast and has covered high school sports for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio. Gaylen has been a media sportswriter while most recently serving as Sports Editor for the local newspaper and will now serve as editor of Darke County Now while continuing to cover athletics. Gaylen is an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years and is the recipient of the OHSAA Friends of Athletes Award and OHSAA Respect the Game State Award. Contact Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser at gblosser@darkecountynow.com or 937-459-9547.

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