HEBRON, Ohio — All good things must come to an end.
It wasn’t a personal best, but Southern senior Kody Wolfe arguably secured his place as the best distance runner to ever come from Meigs County after placing ninth in the Division III boys championship race Saturday morning during the 2012 Ohio High School Athletic Association cross country meet held at National Trail Raceway in Licking County.
Wolfe — a three-time Tri-Valley Conference and four-time southeast district champion — wrapped up his third straight OHSAA appearance by earning his best finish at the state level with a time of 15:58.98. Wolfe’s effort earned him a second-straight All-Ohio honor, and his ninth-place time was just the second time he had posted a sub-16 mark.
Wolfe was 10th a year ago (16:05.35) in the D-3 state meet and also placed 42nd in 2010 with a mark of 16:44.9.
Following the race, Wolfe needed nearly 15 minutes to recover before leaving the finish line area. It wasn’t that the senior was taking it all in one final time, but rather that he had just ran as hard a race as he ever had.
That was one of the major goals for Wolfe headed into his cross country finale Saturday … leave it all on the course.
“I wanted to do better than last year, and one of my biggest goals today was to run as hard as I could,” Wolfe said. “When the race was over, it sure did feel like I ran as hard a race as I could. I accomplished a lot of my personal goals today, so I’m pretty happy with that right now. I wanted to go out strong in my Southern finale.”
It was an extra-special weekend for Wolfe, who was named as one of the 20 finalists in Ohio for the Wendy’s Heisman Award. This prestigious award goes to one male and one female in every state, and the finalists are chosen from all sports on the basis of embodying the spirit of hard work and dedication through their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community/school leadership.
The pool of applicants in Ohio started at 2,040, so being one of the 20 choices was humbling for the Tornado senior.
“For all the athletes in this state, being picked as one of the final 20 was definitely a thrill in itself,” Wolfe said. “We’ll find out soon who wins for sure, but it’s such an honor just being in the group.”
Wolfe’s time in the D-3 race was more than 42 seconds off the winning pace set by Versailles senior Samuel Prakel (15:16.62). Seneca East won the D-3 team title with 101 points, finishing six slots ahead of runner-up McDonald (107). There were 143 male competitors and 16 teams in the Division III contest.
When asked about his future intentions with cross country, Wolfe — who still has a season of track to run yet — said that for now he is going to focus on some more personal things.
“Honestly, it feels pretty good to have it over with right now. It’s a lot of weight off my chest, but I know how hard I worked to get to this point. I am happy with the results,” Wolfe said. “I have some options to continue this in the future, and I am looking into those options at this time. For now, I am happy with how things have turned out and I’ll take some time to enjoy what I’ve been able to accomplish over the years.”
Mick Iacofano of Akron SVSM (15:32.98) won the D-2 boys race and Woodridge won the D-2 team crown with a score of 83 points. Sam Wharton of Tippecanoe (15:09.95) won the D-1 boys race and St. Xavier won the D-2 team crown with a score of 71 points.
Sarah Canney of Coldwater (17:58.03) won the D-3 girls race, Mary Kate Vaughn of Oakwood (17:41.57) won the D-2 girls race and Jacquelyn Crow of Lebanon (17:39.31) won the D-1 girls crown.
Liberty Center (101) won the D-3 team title, Akron SVSM (53) won the D-2 team title and Mason (42) won the D-1 team title.
Complete results of the 2012 OHSAA Cross Country championships are available on the web at ohsaa.org