LEXINGTON — Halle Hamilton’s four-year odyssey is complete.
The two-time Richland Source Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year has reached the summit yet again.
A senior, Hamilton led Lexington to its fourth straight state championship earlier this month at Fortress Obetz. Lady Lex had a team score of 113, 14 better than runner-up Dayton Oakwood.
Hamilton finished third in 18 minutes, 25.3 seconds. It was the second straight year she was third after placing fourth in 2018 as a sophomore.
“It’s been special every year, but this year probably the most," Hamilton said at the time. "Us three girls (fellow seniors Lily Weeks and Joanna Halfhill) have been scoring on the four teams and this is our last year, and we got to appreciate that.”
Hamilton had one of the greatest seasons in program history. She kicked it off with a win at the Richland County Cross Country Invitational in August. While the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of several high-profile events, Hamilton won every race she participated in during the regular season. She was first at Ontario’s Bill Brown Invitational and at the Marion Harding Invitational. She ran a season-best 18:03.28 as Lex won the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet at Wooster, then won the Galion district in 18:35.4 and the Tiffin regional in 18:27.8.
Longtime Lexington coach Denise Benson hardly recognized the 2020 version of Hamilton.
“She’s a completely different runner than her freshman year, physically and mentally and emotionally,” Benson said earlier this season. “Not only is she more experienced — year-to-year, you just can’t replace that experience — she’s learned to push herself to a pain level she’s never experienced before.”
Hamilton is the centerpiece of a All-Richland Source team that features five other state qualifiers.
Lily Weeks, Lexington: Like Hamilton, Weeks was a scorer on all four of Lexington’s state championship teams. The senior was third at the Galion district in 19:14.1, finished fourth at the Tiffin regional in 19:02.4 and capped a sensational career by finishing 19th at the state meet in 19:03.6.
Brienne Trumpower, Ontario: Ontario fans were left to wonder what could have been had Trumpower been available for the Galion district meet. The sophomore was sidelined because of COVID-19 contact tracing protocols and the Warriors finished fifth in the final teams standings (the top four teams qualified for the Tiffin regional). Trumpower’s best performance of the season came at the Seneca East Tiger Night Classic, where she won in 18:19.12.
Ellie Maurer, Ontario: A junior, Maurer qualified for the state meet as an individual (along with teammate Ariah Reuer). Maurer finished 52nd at state in 19:59.0 a week after taking 13th at the Tiffin regional in 19:29.6. Maurer was event at the Galion district in 19:41.8.
Elyana Weaver, Lexington: The future is bright for Weaver, one of two freshman on the All-Richland Source team and the younger sister of 2018 Richland Source runner of the year Carina Weaver. The younger Weaver was fourth at the Galion district in 19:18.0 and seventh at the Tiffin regional in 19:15.2. She finished 42nd at state in 19:46.9.
Emma Wise, Lexington: A sophomore, Wise emerged toward the end of the season. She was fifth at the Galion district i9n 19:30.3 and ninth at the Tiffin regional in 19:27.5. Wise capped her season by finishing 51st at the state meet in 19:59.0.
Raygann Campell, Galion: Just a freshman, Campbell had a breakout season to lead the Tigers to a Division II state meet berth. Campbell was eighth at the Galion district in 19:51.8 and 12th at the Tiffin regional in 19:29.3. She capped her first high school season by placing 40th at the state meet in 19:45.1.