By John Bombatch
BELLBROOK — The home team won its own invitational cross country meet … twice.
Bellbrook High’s boys and girls varsity cross country teams both claimed team wins at Saturday’s Bellbrook Invitational on the school grounds.
Led by senior Madison Pelfrey’s second-place finish in a girls field of 132 runners, the Golden Eagle girls contingent edged Division I Cincinnati Princeton by two points to win the 14-team event.
Bellbrook had three runners place in the top-10. Pelfrey was runner-up with a time of 19:55.3, Elise Kemper placed fourth (20:14.4) and Emi Ford finished ninth with a time of 20:53.1. Kayla Parker (12th, 21:15.6) and Minami Ford (15th, 21:53.9) also scored for the Golden Eagles.
“I felt pretty good,” Pelfrey said. “It probably wasn’t my best race. It wasn’t really a time that I expected to do, but I’m just going to keep pushing and try to do better the next time. To be honest, I was more worried about where I placed in the field than I was my time.”
The Bellbrook senior said her personal best thus far this season has been 19:34, which was actually faster than Princeton race winner Maria Kaylor’s time (19:35.7). Her personal best came last season when she ran 19:32.
“My goal is to get into the low 19’s or the 18’s, and to qualify for state,” she said. “I know I can get there.”
In the boys race, Golden Eagles senior Justin Boreman chugged around the final right-hand turn only to be passed for second place by Brookville’s Justin Bland roughly 50 yards from the finish line. Still, he was understandably very pleased with his race.
“I had a decent finish. I felt a little tired coming down the finish, though,” he said. “It was really nice running today under some cloud cover. It’s been so hot lately, but today was nice and cool. That felt really good today.”
The Bellbrook boys placed four of their runners in the top-10 of the boys’ 130-runner event.
Boreman led the way with his third-place finish in 17:06.8, while Connor Robinson (5th, 17:24.8), Cole Weslow (6th, 17:26.0) and Nico Taylor (8th, 17:30.8) also were in the top-10. Clay Cavanaugh was the other Golden Eagles scorer. He placed 14th overall with a time of 18:22.5.
Brookville runners Spencer Schick and Justin Bland finished 1-2 with times of 17:02.3 and 17:05.9 respectively.
The Bellbrook boys team out scored runner-up Morrow Little Miami by 33 points, (36-69).
“To have both teams win our home meet, if feels really great. Both of our teams have worked really hard this season, so this is great that we both were able to win,” Boreman said.
Cross country coach Mike Baumer said his senior-laden Bellbrook squad was particularly geared up for Saturday’s race.
“We have a lot of seniors this year, so it’s like their last chance to run their home meet for their careers here,” Baumer said. “We’re looking for this as a stepping stone for some big races we have coming up. (This week), we’re at Kettering Fairmont. We’ll keep some of the guys out of that race (Saturday, Oct. 1), and then back them off a little bit when we go to Anna (on Oct. 8). That’s a final tuneup for two weeks when we’ll have our league meet in Franklin. … We’ll really focus on team position and less on our times. We’ll just try to beat the guys in front of us and get the most points we can.”
The Southwestern Buckeye League Championship meet will take place Oct. 15 at Franklin High School.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.