Independence earns hardware at Legends Meet

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Erica Esper

Independence’s girls’ cross country team took home some hardware from the 2018 Legends Meet at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

The Blue Devils placed fourth in the girls’ Division III meet.

“I was so proud of my team and all our performances today,” said junior Emily Skoczen who paced the Blue Devils with a sixth-place finish in 21:21. “We placed really well compared to last year and it feels really good to know the hard work pays off. Getting that plaque was a huge confidence booster going into the postseason and to do it with this group of girls made it even more special.”

Independence finished 29th as a team in 2017 and Skozcen placed 41st. She knocked off 23 seconds from last year.

“Sixth place was definitely an improvement from last year,” Skoczen said. “I’m really happy that I was able to beat other runners that have placed higher than me before. My time was slower than I would have wanted, but for meets like this I really focus on my place.”

Sophomore Makenna McGhee placed ninth for the Blue Devils with a time of 21:36 and senior Erica Esper made a huge jump from last year as she placed 22nd with a time of 22:17 after finishing 182nd last fall.

“I attribute my major improvement to running more miles in the preseason, but mainly because of my teammates’ and coaches’ encouragement,” Esper said. “I was satisfied with my race today, although I will need to keep working harder for the postseason.”

Sonia Sajovie, Gabby McGreevy and Izabell McGreevy also finished among the top 50 for the Blue Devils. Sajovie was 34th (22:59), Gabby McGreevy was 41st (23:17) and Izabell McGreevy placed 44th (23:25).

Independence’s boys’ team didn’t score as a team but P.J. Oschmann and Collin Patton both finished among the top 50.

Oschmann was 32nd with a time of 19:12 while Patton was 36th in 19:29.

The Blue Devils kick off the postseason on Saturday when they travel to Cardinal for the Chagrin Valley Conference meet.

“Our ultimate goal is to go as far as we can and I know we are capable of running at the state meet,” Skoczen said. “We’ll have to stay focused these next couple of weeks and continue to shave seconds from our times.”

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.