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    Hornets run to regionals

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    Led by Reilly Greenlee and Julie Namciu Kirtland’s girls’ cross country team is headed to the regional meet for the first time since 2010.

    Greenlee finished seventh overall and Namciu was 18th to help the Hornets secure fifth place as a team at Saturday’s Division III Madison District to earn the automatic berth at next week’s Boardman regional.

    “It feels amazing knowing I helped get our team to regionals,” Namciu said. “I was doing a lot of research on the other teams throughout the week to give us a better idea of who we had to beat and I’m glad the team used that to their advantage.”

    Greenlee, a junior, finished in 20:18 while Namciu, a senior, came in at 21:22.

    “I am extremely satisfied with my time,” Namciu said. “I pushed the second mile and I was able to get a season (personal record). I was cold at first but I was so close to 20th that I just had to ignore it and stay ahead. I knew I would only be cold for a short amount of time and I didn’t want to let this be my last race.”

    Sophomore Delaney Kuczkowski (22:24), senior Mateja Mrva (23:16), sophomore Aria Ray (23:37) and freshmen Stephanie Drazetic (23:44) and Jessy Jackson (23:49) also ran for the Hornets.

    Heading into their first regional meet in a decade, the Hornets are focused on beating their own personal marks and seeing where that leads them.

    “We have a very slim chance of making it to states as a team so we are just going into regionals hoping to PR,” Namciu said. “We want to place as well as possible, but PRs are the goal.”

    Senior Ian McGreal finished 23rd in the boys’ Division II race and will join the girls’ team at regionals.

    “It’s an amazing feeling,” McGreal said. “I’ve been looking forward to this since the start of the season and to finally have that recognition is awesome.”

    McGreal ran a time of 17:31.

    “After the two-mile, I was a little concerned about not qualifying so I just stayed calm and tried to find the pack, which worked out perfectly because it helped me move up in placing and also running an amazing time,” he said.

    Now, he’s going to use a similar strategy at next weekend’s regional meet.

    “Entering regionals is very exciting,” he said. “I’m going to try to not get worked up as we get closer towards the race, and when that day comes, I’m just going to run how I normally do and however I end up, I’ll know I did my best.”

    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    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.
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