Brienne Trumpower

Ontario's Brienne Trumpower runs alongside Cloverleaf's Sophia Spencer during the Division II/III girls race at the Ashland Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Freer Field.

ONTARIO — Nothing her kid sister does surprises Carolina Trumpower anymore.

Brienne Trumpower has been nipping at her older sister’s heels for years.

The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Brienne Trumpower picked up her first career victory at the Ashland Cross Country Invitational over the weekend. The freshman finished in a season-best 19 minutes, 19.1 seconds, nearly 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Maya Hamsher of Orrville.

Her older sister knew it was only a matter of time until Brienne broke the tape.

“I knew that she was always going to be better than me just because she was always trying to stay with me since I was 8 and she was 6,” said Carolina, a senior who finished fourth Saturday in a season-best 19:56.8. “She’s always been right behind me. She has a really competitive spirit and that’s really going to help her.

“I think she’s got a really great future ahead of her.”

The younger Trumpower, who won a junior high national championship in the mile run at the New Balance Nationals in June, has been Ontario’s No. 2 runner behind senior and team captain Grace Maurer throughout the early portion of the season. Maurer slid back in the field Saturday to pace teammate Madison Genders, opening the door for Trumpower.

“I’m usually behind Grace, but today she was pacing one of our teammates so she could get her best time,” Brienne said. “It kind of gave me a chance to win my first race, so that was exciting.”

The addition of the Trumpowers — they transferred from Mansfield Christian — should have Ontario in the running for a Division II state championship. The Warriors were ranked second in the most recent Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches state poll behind defending Division II state champ and Richland Country rival Lexington.

Ontario beat Lady Lex in the OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway last month.

“I think it’s exciting to know we have a shot to do really well this year,” Brienne said. “It’s so exciting to be part of a team and have girls you can rely on in a race.”

The decision to leave Mansfield Christian was a difficult one.

“We loved it at Mansfield Christian,” Brienne said. “It was a really hard decision.”

Ontario was without sophomore Ellie Maurer on Saturday — the sophomore sat out after battling illness last week. Still, the Warriors dominated with a team score of 37. Fredericktown (101) was a distant second.

Ontario has won three team titles in as many invitationals this fall. The Warriors return to action Saturday at the ultra-competitive Tiffin Cross Country Carnival, one of the biggest events in the nation.

As far as her older sister is concerned, Brienne won’t have any trouble competing against an elite field.

“She’s confident in how she runs and she’s worked hard all her life,” Carolina said. “She’s got a way to go, but she’s doing really well.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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