SHELBY — It wasn’t the coronation ceremony he hoped for, but Shelby’s Huck Finnegan proved his mettle at the cross country state championships.
The All-Area Boys Runner of the Year in Source Media’s 4-county coverage area, Finnegan scratched and clawed his way to an All-Ohio finish during the Division II race. He finished 30th in 16:38.8, securing the final All-Ohio spot.
Finnegan came into the final stretch in eighth place and was almost a lock for a podium finish, but the gusty winds and warmer-than-usual temperatures conspired against him. He collapsed as he headed for the finish line, but still managed to get home by crawling across the line. He had a lengthy stay in the medical tent after the race.
“Sometimes those things happen when you’re on the edge,” veteran Shelby coach Chris Zuercher said afterward. “Quite a few guys went down in that last quarter-mile. It’s a tough sport. There’s no timeouts on a day like (that).”
The tough finish couldn’t diminish what was a brilliant senior season. Finnegan was the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference’s Runner of the Year after winning the MOAC meet in 16:00.9. He won the Galion district title in 16:14.96 and the Tiffin regional crown on 16:04.3.
An Ashland University cross country and track recruit, Finnegan is one of six state qualifiers on the All-Area cross country team.
Luke Dininger, Shelby: A senior, Dininger finished 50th at the state meet in 17:00.4. He placed eighth at the Tiffin regional in 16:36.2 and was fourth at the Galion district in 16:47.94. Dininger was selected to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first team after placing third in the MOAC meet in 16:44.1.
Isaik Schoch, Mapleton: A junior, Schoch missed out on All-Ohio honors by a tenth of a second at the Division III state meet. Schoch finished 31st in 16:39.1 (the top 30 finishers earn All-Ohio status). Schoch placed fifth at the Lorain Community College district in 17:16.7 and seventh at the Youngstown Boardman regional in 16:54.5. He won the Firelands Conference meet in 16:44.8.
Shawn Auck, Colonel Crawford: The future is bright for Auck, a freshman who finished 44th at state in 16:57.6. Auck won the Division III district championship at Galion in 16:51.42 and placed 19th at the Tiffin regional in 16:38.1. Auck won the Northern 10 Athletic Conference championship in 16:47.39, edging Upper Sandusky’s Ashton Vent by slightly more than a second.
Owen Krabill, Fredericktown: The senior capped his high school career by placing 52nd in the Division III race at the state championships, finishing in 17:05.3. Krabill was ninth at the Hilliard Darby district meet in 17:09.66 and 19th at the Pickerington North regional in 16:54.56. Krabill earned a spot on the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference first team.
Latrell Hughes, Lexington: The Minutemen moved up to Division I this fall, but the jump in competition didn’t bother Hughes, a talented freshman. He finished fourth in 16:33.09 at the district meet at Owens Community College and placed 30th at the Tiffin regional (17:04.6). Hughes was Lexington’s top finisher at the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet, placing third in 16:16.86.
Chance Basilone, Lexington: Another of Lexington’s talented underclassmen, Basilone was the top area finisher at the Division I regional meet at Tiffin. The sophomore placed 10th in 16:23. Basilone was eighth at the Owens district in 16:42.12 and finished sixth at the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet in 16:27.4.
Lukah Will, Ashland: A senior, Will finished 14th at the Division I regional meet at Tiffin in 16:33.1. Will was sixth at the Owens district (16:37.3) and placed 11th at the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet (16:47).