The goal of every high school cross country runner is to build throughout the season in order to advance to the state championships in November.
Arcanum senior Tanner Delk and Greenville sophomore Isabelle Rammel were among several local athletes to achieve that goal this year and that is why they have been named the Darke County Male and Female Runners of the Year.
For Delk, he capped his senior season by finishing fourth overall as an individual in the Division III boys state championship race. It was his second year in a row of making it to the state meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
“Tanner is a very humble athlete,” said Arcanum cross country coach Chris Kessler. “He is grateful for his family, coaches, teammates, school and community support. He has worked very hard the last two years to end his high school cross country career by placing fourth in the Division III state meet. He committed to running year around workouts. He is very disciplined and has a great work ethic.”
Academically, according to Kessler, Delk is in the top 10 of his class, a member of the high school marching band that received a 1 Superior rating at State, and works at his family’s restaurant The Bank House Cafe. Delk ran his PR at National Trail Blazer Invitational by running a time of 16:03. Some other meet statistics include winning the Cross County Conference championship, finishing second at Division III District meet, third at Division III Regional meet.
“Tanner was also inspirational to his teammates,” Kessler said. “They motivated each other as a team. They set a goal after last year’s season to win the title of 2018 CCC Champs.”
Delk recently announced he has verbally committed to continue his running career at the University of Toledo, a Division I school that competes in the Mid-American Conference. His official signing date is to be determined.
Rammel’s trip to the Division II girls state championship race was a first for the sophomore. She ended up placing 61st overall out of 177 individual runners with a time of 20:24.4.
“Isabelle is such a fun athlete to coach,” Greenville cross country coach Stephanie Lind said. “She truly strives to be her best for the team. Isabelle is learning to become a great leader. She is learning from alumni, leading by example, providing encouragement to teammates and challenging her team to be their best. She is disciplined, focused and makes necessary sacrifices.
“Isabelle set goals early in the season at camp and worked diligently doing all the right things, both at practice and during the 22 hours every day outside of practice, to accomplish her goals,” she continued. “Her goal was to make it to the state meet, which she accomplished. Next year her goal is to place in the top 30 at state and earn All-Ohio status.”
Though she didn’t earn All-Ohio status this year, Rammel did earn receive several other honors in 2018. She received the Academic All-Ohio Award, awarded only to students who qualify to compete at state and have earned a 3.5 GPA or better. She received first team Greater Western Ohio Conference All-League status and had her personal best time of 19:35.8 at the GWOC Championships.
There were many other outstanding performances from teams and individuals during the cross country season. Also competing at state from Darke County were Franklin-Monroe’s Cole Good. He placed 28th overall (17:14.9), his highest finish in three consecutive trips to the state meet.
In the girls Division III race, both Bradford and Versailles competed as teams with the Railroaders finishing in 11th place with 299 points and the Tigers coming in 15th place (370) out of 20 teams.
Running at the state meet for Bradford were Karmen Knepp, Skipp Miller, Austy Miller, Olivia Daugherty, Mercedes Smith, Alexis Barhorst and Jenna Shellabarger. Running for Versailles were Madelyn Holzapfel, Maria Mangen, Liz Watren, Kara Spitzer, Lauren Menke, Delaney Barga and Emma Peters.