ST. MARYS – When senior Kristen Dammeyer took up cross country this fall, she was joining a veteran St. Marys girls cross country team with high hopes for 2013.
Dammeyer and the Riders fulfilled those aspirations on Saturday with a second-place finish and a four-place improvement from last year’s WBL championship meet.
The senior-led St. Marys girls cross country team had six runners finish in the top 22 as the Roughriders captured second place on their home course at the WBL meet at the course near Memorial High School.
Western Buckeye League Cross Country Championship photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smeveningleader/sets/72157636547242383/show/ 
Dammeyer, a fall two-sport athlete who alsp plays soccer, ran a 20:02.27 time, behind only Wapakoneta’s Allie Zofkie.
“To be able to join this my senior year, I just really grew in my love for running,” Dammeyer said. “Last year in track I started thinking about running cross country. Last year I ran the two-mile and realized I loved running long distance and that made me want to try this.”
Only a freshman, Zofkie finished up at the finish line located on the track with a 19:38.85 time and no one within shouting distance.
“I knew the girl from Wapak had a lot of talent,” Dammeyer said. “My strategy was to go out at my pace. When I hit that mile and a half, I just wanted to pass girls to get where I want to be. When I passed that girl for second place, I knew I had to hold on to that spot for my team to reach my personal goal to finish as high as I could.”
St. Marys senior Amanda Dues finished eighth overall with a 20:32 time. Junior Megan Hertenstein took 18th with a 21:27 time, senior Lexi Grothause was 19th (21:28), freshman Kelly Wilker finished 20th (21:29) and junior Hannah Tobin finished 22nd (21:35).
St. Marys scored 67 points, behind only WBL champion Van Wert. The Cougars had 34 points. Defiance was third with 96 points. Celina took fourth with 112 points. Wapakoneta was sixth with 171 points.
Dammeyer said running the WBL championship on their own home course helped the Roughrider runners. “We know the foot placement, where we should be running in terms of passing people,” she said. “It’s a big advantage.”
St. Marys finished seventh in the boys race. Defiance captured the WBL title with 25 points, Van Wert was second (44 points), Wapakoneta was third (96 points).
St. Marys sophomore Matt Jutte was the Riders’ top runner with a 33rd-place finish and 18:25 time. Senior Zack Goodwin took 47th with an 18:54 time. Sophomore Forest Baldwin took 51st with a 19:07 pace. Matt Schroyer finished with a 19:11 time and Kyle Oswalt had a 19:12 pace to round out the Riders’ scoring.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Mati Trampe-Kindt won the boys WBL individual tite with a 16:11 time. Celina’s Cole Mertz finished six overall with a 16:47 time. Wapakoneta’s Sam Harrod was 10th with a 17:12 pace.