Hoffee, Rettig earn All-Ohio honors

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Hera Hoffee and Grasyn Rettig

By Carol McIntire
Two Minerva runners earned All-Ohio status at the 94th annual Cross Country State Championships Nov. 5 at Fortress Obetz on the east side of Columbus.
The Lions girls team followed up their Division II state championship in 2021 with a fourth place finish in the team standings. Coach Olivia Scott’s Lady Lions were the favorite to repeat as champions in the pre-regionals Coaches State Poll releases Oct. 27. The Lions won both the district and regional crowns.
“We knew we had some very tough competition and it wasn’t going to be easy to repeat as champions, especially after all they have been through the last two weeks. It was definitely not our best team race,” said Lions Coach Olivia Scott.
It was the 14th appearance at the state meet for the Lady Lions in the past 22 years. The team made its first appearance at the state’s top race in 2000.
The Carrollton girls, in their first team appearance since 2016, placed 17th in the field of 20 teams. The Lady Warriors qualified for the state meet in 1999 and have made seven appearances, including consecutive trips in 2013 and 2014.
The Minerva boys also placed 17th. The Lions boys team first qualified for the state championships in 1999 and have made six appearances since then, most recently in 2021.
The runners fought strong wind gusts throughout the day as they criss-crossed the course in front of the grandstand three times before entering the stadium on a downhill grade and raced to the finish line in front of a cheering crowd.
Minerva senior Hera Hoffee led the contingent of area runners with a fifth place finish individually in a field of 178 runners. Her time of 18:42.2 earned her First-Team All-Ohio honors.
“Hera ran the most impressive race I have ever seen by her. She had a goal and she went out and proved that she is one of the best distance runners in the state. I keep re-watching the video of her running down the stretch to the finish. She had so much left in her and she caught two girls right at the end. Hera now has the highest state finish of any Minerva girl in school history.”
Scott said she is excited for Hoffee as she has been invited to be on team Ohio. She will race with the top senior girls in the state against Indiana and Michigan Nov. 19th.
Lion sophomore Grasyn Rettig crossed the finish line 17th in 16:24.5 to earn All-Ohio Honorable Mention.
“Grasyn had a phenomenal day. He is not just talented, but he is a hard worker, too. This season he has been dedicated and followed his mileage plan. It paid off as he goes out as an All-Ohio runner and he is only a sophomore,” Scott noted.
Marlington runner Colin Cernansky outpaced the field to win the boys race in 15:26. The Dukes, a member of the Eastern Buckeye Conference with Carrollton and Minerva, won the team title.
An emotional moment of silence was held prior to the start of the Division II boys race for Minerva athlete Owen Grubb, who lost his life in a tragic accident at the District Meet in Cambridge two weeks prior to the state championships. The Lions runners wore the letters OG on their faces and ran under the slogan “We run for Owen.”
“The last two weekends we ran with Owen Grubb on our hearts,” said Scott. “We know he was with us Saturday. Teammates who knew and loved him will continue to work in his honor. We love and miss him everyday. Thank you to the OHSAA for having a moment of silence and wearing red ribbons for him.”

Minerva senior Caitlyn Hopple (49) was the second Lion to cross the finish line, followed by sophomores Annabelle Crissman (72), Kayla Crissman (78), Hannah Ison (98) and Katie Ison (109) and freshman Gabby Lupshu (133).
Carrollton senior Maddie Burgett closed out her high school cross country career with a 48th place finish in 20:09.1. Senior Elizabeth Funkhouser was the second Warrior to cross the finish line in 95th place followed by junior Hillari Baker (108), freshmen Kylie Ujcich (114) and Izabella (Izzy) Nuzzolillo (124), sophomore Zoe Kuhn-Goodspeed (156) and senior Kayla Lewis (178).
For the Lion boys team, junior Mason Steele garnered a 68th place finish, followed by freshman Rowan Hoffee (125), sophomore Ryan Cassidy (136), senior Brandon Davis (165), freshman Owen Yoder (167) and sophomore Xander Cox (178).
“I could not be more proud of these boys,” Scott said. “To be able to persevere after the worst week of our lives and still qualify to the state meet shows how tough these running Lions are. I have said this before, but they are my heroes. I look forward to the future with this young team as they will only continue to improve.”

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