Morgan Welch

Crestview's Morgan Welch sprints toward the finish line during the Division III girls race at the state cross country meet Saturday at Fortress Obetz.

OBETZ — Crestview teammates Tommy O’Neill and Morgan Welch were working from the same playbook Saturday.

Both O’Neill and Welch parlayed fast starts into All-Ohio finishes at the state cross country meet at Fortress Obetz.

O’Neill finished 14th in the Division III boys race in 16 minutes, 15.9 seconds, good for 14th place. Welch was 24th in the Division III girls race, finishing 24th.

The top 30 finishers earned All-Ohio honors.

The course at Fortress Obetz features a tight first turn near the 400 meter mark as the runners enter the stadium for the first time. Getting there near the front of the field is imperative.

“I didn’t want to get boxed in,” O’Neill said. “I got out like I wanted to and I still kicked like I wanted to.”

O’Neill’s first trip to Fortress Obetz last fall didn’t end especially well. He finished 100th in 17:25.2.

“That experience helped me,” O’Neill said. “I put a lot more miles in this year. I put a lot of time and dedication into the sport, so it was nice to get All-Ohio this year.”

Mapleton’s Isaik Schoch was 45th in 16:49.4.

Like O’Neill, Welch capped her career as an All-Ohioan. She finished in 19:24.4.

“It’s incredible,” Welch said. “I don’t even know what to say but thank God.

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect because last year I finished in the 70s (73rd in 20:26). Being in the 20s, I didn’t know how to feel about that.”

The Crestview girls qualified as a team and finished 15th with a team score of 357. Kylie Brockway was 119th overall in 21:09.2, followed by Leyna Gerich in 122nd (21:13.6). Georgia McFarland (21:18.6) was 127th. Sarah Howe (23:30.5) was 176th and Mia Humrichouser (23:37.0) was 179th.

Colonel Crawford finished seventh in the team standings with a score of 248. Gabby Roston led the way for the Eagles, finishing 45th in 19:50.4. Cecelia Chase (20:14.1) was 69th, while Olivia Hardy (20:31.1) was 87th and Izzy Roston (20:34.1) was 90th. Maria Smith (22:14.3) was 153rd, followed by Olivia Chase (23:37.0) in 178th and Sheba Sulser (24:07.9) in 181st.

Loudonville’s Catlyn Kauffman was 61st in 20:09.4.

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

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