By Pete Chiodo
Special to the Tribune
The temperature crept toward 90 degrees on Tuesday, broiling the wide grassy field at Two Mile Run County Park in Franklin and energizing frenetic little clouds of tiny black bugs that swarmed around the heads of the spectators.
It was hot. It was muggy. And it was itchy. But it also might have been the biggest boys race in Region 3 this season, so it was a must-see.
By the end of it, Maplewood’s Jeremy and Jake Parsons were one and two across the finish line. However, it was the Saegertown swarm taking the win, beating the Tigers 26-33.
Both teams dominated Rocky Grove. Saegertown won 15-50 while Maplewood defeated the Orioles 15-47.
Only two full girls teams participated. Rocky Grove’s Maggie Prorok had the fastest individual time. But the Maplewood girls won the team race over the Lady Orioles 23-34.
“That was hot!” exclaimed Tigers senior Jeremy Parsons, still drenched after his 16:59 run around the park’s 5K course.
“I was pretty happy with my time with the way it felt out there,” he added. “I thought my brother was going to catch me. I just didn’t feel that I was going very fast. When I found out I was under 17:00 I was happy with that.”
Jake Parsons crossed the finish line nearly a half second after his twin in 17:23.
After him came four Saegertown runners in the three through six spots — Morgan Schenberg (17:30), Brendon Barclay (17:55), Wyatt Fleischer (18:20) and Matt Schenberg (18:21).
“I was behind Jake up until the second mile,” said Morgan Schenberg. “Then he took off the next half mile. It was a long hill. He has longer legs. That was the race right there. Then coming down (the final hill) he took off again. I couldn’t catch him.”
Maplewood’s Hanz Wentz was seventh in 18:27. Then it was another cluster of Saegertown runners in eighth, ninth and 10th — Alex Barclay (19:16), Garrett Johnston (19:20) and Brad Amy (19:21).
“We knew we had to break into (Maplewood’s) top three, get at least one runner in there,” said Saegertown head coach Bill Hetrick. “And we wanted all of our top seven ahead of their four. And we did it.”
That grouping helped the defending District 10 champion Saegertown boys (2-0) keep their region winning streak alive. The Panthers have gone five straight without dropping a meet. Now they are past one big hurdle towards a sixth season.
The Panthers still have a few tri-meets remaining on the schedule. However, Maplewood was expected to be among their closest competitors. Now the Tigers are in the rearview mirror for a little while.
“Cochranton is still up there,” said Morgan Schenberg.
“But for the rest of the season we can sort of relax and just focus on getting better,” said Matt Schenberg.
“We don’t have to see Maplewood again until regions,” added Morgan.
In the girls race, Prorok finished first in a time of 22:50. Maplewood then took the next three spots with Abby Martinson in second (23:54), Rebecca Worley in third (24:55) and Savannah Phillips in fourth (25:04).
“Savannah had an off day,” said Maplewood coach Dave Washousky. “I think the heat got to her. But Rebecca and Abby ran really well. I think the girls team will have a really strong season. When they have to put it all together they will.”
Saegertown’s lone female runner, Breanna Ferguson, was sixth in 27:32.