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First home meet for Poland in two decades
September 25, 2019

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Poland Cross Country teams dedicated their first home cross country meet in two decades with resounding victories for both high school and middle school races. On their brand new course at Poland Township Park, the Lady Bulldogs swept the first five scoring places en route to a decisive victory on a hot, dry day and challenging course. Scoring for the high school girls team was led by Halle Sebest, followed by Gianna Stanich, Jackie Grisdale, Haley Trolio and Emily Denney. The five combined for a 15 point score, the lowest possible in cross country.

The boys team was every bit as successful scoring 19 points and a first place finish. Leading the charge was Geno Gallo, Jet Bailey, Logan Flament, Andrew Biggs and Tony Gallo.

"Most of the kids who raced today helped build the course. From removing rocks to raking dirt and planting grass, the path they ran on was one they made," said girls head coach Kim Grisdale. "That gave a different meaning to 'home field advantage' and it was great to see our runners take pride in it."

The middle school girls team showed their signature depth over the two-mile course with a little over a minute and a half separating the first and last runners. With only seven girls making up the squad, the team snagged every spot from third through ninth. Leading the charge for the girls was Sara White with a season best time of 15:07. Not far behind were sisters Kate Harrell (15:42) and Lucy Harrell (15:52). Within the next 20 seconds, the balance of the team finished led by Gianna Vagnarelli (16:25) and followed closely by Josey Norris (16:37) Lauren Shaw (16:37) and Sydney Metzinger (16:46). The team finished first overall.

The boys team was led by Chris Denney who patiently waited until the last quarter mile to begin his finish kick garnering him a first place overall and establishing the inaugural course record in 12:41. Missing two of the regular top five members of the team meant that a couple others needed to step up to fill the gap. That they did. Alex Medina placed fifth overall with a time of 13:28 followed by Jas Stefancin (14:19). Stepping up to a scoring position were Michael Daley (15:18) and Vince Sainato who found another gear to pull off a three-minute PR of 15:27. The balance of the team included Connor Blumel (16:14) Michael Chambers (16:41), Rocco West (18:13), Derry Daily (19:10) and Nick Blanch (19:33).

"There were lots of breakout performances tonight on both the girls and boys teams," said head coach Tom Grantonic. "Everyone responded when they needed to in order to make an impression in this inaugural meet. There were several personal bests set at this two mile distance that surpassed times on other courses that were as much as a quarter mile shorter and much flatter. That's saying something."

The middle school teams will wrap up their season on Sept. 28 in Girard at the NE8 Conference Championship.

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