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    Polman, Zaccardelli show well on the trail


    Independence’s Tyler Polman and Dana Zaccardelli ran different courses on Saturday but both had similar successes. Polman finished sixth to lead the boys’ team at the Tiffin Carnival while Zaccardelli finished second at the Bruce Lerch Invitational in Brecksville.

    Polman finished the race in 16:16.63, just 16 seconds behind race winner Jacob Caniford of St. Thomas Aquinas.

    “He ran fairly well,” said Independence coach Craig Polman. That was his fastest time of the season to date. The competition has gotten a little bit tougher out there.”

    Zaccardelli finished the open race in 22:33.23, less than seven seconds behind Massillon Jackson’s Shira Weiner. With just two girls competing, the Blue Devils’ runners were assigned to the open race rather than the varsity race, which required a minimum of five runners.

    “The winner of the varsity race finished in 20:01, so that’s kind of what I expected,” Coach Polman said of Zaccardelli’s finish. “I’m sure the course was slow because of all the rain and the times aren’t real fast. If she was in the varsity race I can’t imagine her being 2 ½ minutes behind the winner. I think that’s one of those things that not being in the varsity race, even though she ran with somebody and ended getting beat by somebody, she probably would have fared better and been closer to the winners.”

    Freshman Emma Wensink finished 64th with a time of 26:38.37.

    “Emma has really just run one high school race so far,” Polman said. “She ran the first meet and then ran a fairly strong race for herself (on Saturday). She was in the 26s at Berkshire too but I think she ran a better race overall this time. She’s just getting used to running the 5K distance so I expect her to continue to improve.”

    Back at Tiffin, Joe Wisniewski ran a time of 21:16.45 and Matt Botzman finished in 23:17.79.

    “Joe is still learning the ropes. He’s got a long way to go but he’s a freshman and it was his first time at this meet. I did take the middle school team a couple of times to this meet but he was never involved when they went. I think the size of the meet and the competition was a bit new for him. He ran his fastest time of the season but he’s got a lot of work to do yet,” Polman said. “Matt basically was a fill in. We got a few guys who retired to come out of retirement to put some people on the line. Matt ran the whole race and he didn’t do too badly considering he hasn’t been training at all. He told me he ran a 5K race in early August but I think that was the last time he ran.”

    Erik Liebal and John Cadorini also competed for the Blue Devils, who travel to the Boardman Spartan Invitational on Saturday.

    Steve Hare
    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, 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, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the 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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