OIL CITY — Sometimes the wait just makes the taste of success that much sweeter.
After coming up just short of a region title the past three seasons, the Titusville Rockets girls cross country team joyfully clinched their Region 6 title on Tuesday with their 20-40 victory at Oil City. Now, 11-0 on the season the Rocket girls will have a chance to close out a perfect regular-season in their final meet against Franklin on Thursday.
Titusville had to settle for second place in the region standings from 2017-2019, with those titles going to Oil City (2017-18) and Saegertown (2019). This season’s first meet against the Oilers went in favor of the Rockets by a 22-37 margin, but that was the lone Oil City defeat to this point in the year. Therefore, Titusville needed just one more victory against their rivals to the south in order to clinch the title.
Using the pack mentality that has brought them so much success this season, the Rockets placed runners second through seventh and increased their margin of victory by three points from the first meet en route to earning the right to be called “Region 6 champions.”
“The girls have been so close over the past few seasons,” Titusville coach Joe Covell said. “We have lost the region title by one point a few times. Shea (Titus) and Julia (Johnson) are the elder stateswomen on the team running varsity for the last four and three years, respectively. They have experienced how close they have been and seeing their reactions of getting over the hump was priceless. This group has worked hard this year and that has a lot to do with the leadership from Shea. A tip of the cap to Oil City coach Trevor Johnson, who asked me if he could speak to the girls. He told them how proud he was and that they are more than deserving of the region title.”
Olivia Mumford took first place in the varsity girls race for Oil City, coming in at 20 minutes and 57 seconds. However, the Brown and Gold stormed into the following six positions. Mackenzie Covell (2nd, 21:33), Emma Wright (3rd, 21:37), Titus (4th, 21:52), Isabella Ongley (5th, 22:45), Madison Nellis (6th, 22:49), Alexa Drake (7th, 24:26) and Victoria Bodamer (11th, 28:02) competed for the Rockets. Bodamer turned in a PR of 23 seconds.
“The girls ran really well on one of the toughest courses in the area,” coach Covell said. “The entire girls team continues to drop time even though they may not have PR’d. Everyone today beat their time or was within a few seconds of when we competed at the Oil City Invite. Tori ran the first half of her race quicker then normal and showed a lot of determination the last mile. Our pack continues to be the key to their success. Even though we won the region, we still have a few goals to reach over the next few weeks.”
The varsity boys race may not have had region title implications, but it was just as important as to who would advance to the District 10 Championship meet on Oct. 31 at the Ed Myer Complex.
Both teams posted matching 28-28 scores in the first meet on Sept. 29 in Titusville, but Oil City won the meet due to the sixth-man tiebreaker. Oil City came into Tuesday’s race with a 6-4 record, while Titusville was 5-5. A Rocket win would force a tie atop the Class 2A portion of the region standings with one winnable meet left for each team, as Class 1A Rocky Grove already having clinched the Region 6 title.
With District 10 taking only the top team in each class from each region, Tuesday’s meet was a must-win. Unfortunately, the potential tiebreaking coin flip or race is not in the cards for Titusville, as Oil City claimed a slim 26-29 victory on their home course.
Jack Mumford posted an Oil City program record for their home course with his time of 17:18. Titusville’s Ezekiel White came in second place in 18:03. The Oilers turned in runners in third, sixth, seventh and ninth place, while the Rockets had Isaiah Yoder (4th, 18:40), Mason Welker (5th, 18:58), Gavin Nichols (8th, 19:14) and Eric Reynolds (10th, 20:14) contribute to the team score. Welker had a 25-second PR.
“Our boys gave everything they had today on a tough course,” coach Covell said. “It was another close race to decide who represents our region at districts. Mason had another gear after getting up S-Bend hill. Eric ran another great race and missed a PR by 4 seconds on a tough course.”
In junior high action, the Rockets also earned a split with the girls claiming a 24-35 victory. Anna Mehlenbacher (13:07) helped the Rocket girls improve to 11-0 on the season by claiming her fourth first-place finish of the season.
Oil City won the boys race 21-37. Bryan Johnson (4th, 12:18) was the fastest Rocket boy (3-8).
Titusville will close out the regular season on Thursday when the Rockets host Franklin for the final Region 6 meet at 4 p.m.
Boys: Oil City 26, Titusville 29
OIL CITY — 1. Jack Mumford 17:18, 3. Dylan Lux 18:07, 6. Dom Guiste 19:09, 7. Cam Weller 19:10, 9. Andy McGarvie 19:36, 11. Colin Liederbach 20:39, 12. Christian Speece 21:02.
TITUSVILLE — 2. Ezekiel White 18:03, 4. Isaiah Yoder 18:40, 5. Mason Welker 18:58, 8. Gavin Nichols 19:14, 10. Eric Reynolds 20:14, 19. Cole Enright 26:17, 20. Jack Brown 26:19.
Girls: Titusville 20, Oil City 40
OIL CITY — 1. Olivia Mumford 20:57, 8. Jenna Kirkwood 24:40, 9. Faith Ames 25:46, 10. Olivia Vorse 27:43, 12. Mara Martinec 28:43, 13. Baine Snyder 30:04.
TITUSVILLE — 2. Mackenzie Covell 21:33, 3. Emma Wright 21:37, 4. Shea Titus 21:52, 5. Isabella Ongley 22:45, 6. Madison Nellis 22:49, 7. Alexa Drake 24:26, 11. Victoria Bodamer 28:02.
Boys: Oil City 21, Titusville 37
OIL CITY — 1. Keegan Kirkwood 11:13, 2. Elijah Brosius 11:20, 3. Eli Collins 11:22, 7. Mike Fink 13:30, 8. Connor Reszkowski 13:32, 9. Cohen Wise 14:01, 11. Zach Sutch 15:07.
TITUSVILLE — 4. Bryan Johnson 12:18, 5. Sam Smedley 12:19, 6. Alex Reynolds 13:03, 10. Aiden Patterson, 12. Noah Shambaugh 15:23, 13. Ayden Fullerton 15:46.
Girls: Titusville 24, Oil City 35
OIL CITY — 3. Ella Speece 13:16, 4. Madison Kissell 13:49, 5. Payton Liederbach 14:13, 11. Addi McGarvie 16:09, 12. Jayden White 17:14, 14. Lily Scalise 19:02.
TITUSVILLE — 1. Anna Mehlenbacher 13:07, 2. Madeline Johnson 13:09, 6. Kasey Krepps 14:23, 7. Addison Bish 14:52, 8. Lauren Ongley 14:53, 9. Flynn Kirvan 14:57, 10. Marley Griffin 15:48, 13. Alissa Chess 17:36.