OBETZ – Vinton County senior Olivia Mayers placed 73rd among a field of 177 runners at the 43rd annual girls’ OHSAA State Cross Country Championship meet in Division II on Saturday at the Fortress in Obetz.

In her second state meet appearance, Mayers ran the 5K course in a time of 20:20.4, finishing 34-seconds slower from a year ago, in which she placed 57th overall.

“My hope was for her to go out and race the best she could, and wherever she finished, she finished,” said Vinton County head coach Josh Kirkpatrick. “At a meet like this, you don’t know what you are going to get from the athletes or the field.

“We didn’t really have a goal time or a goal finish. I just told her to go let it rip and run the best she could. She was in the middle of a cluster where there were a lot of runners around her.”

Mayers was in the back of the pack after the 1-mile split and improved to 72nd after two miles.

“She said she felt good after mile two and was ready to move up, but then, she fell, and from there she had to play catch up,” Kirkpatrick said. “If you look at the times, there were seven places that were within 10-seconds in front of her. Then there were 10-places behind her. There were 20 places within 20 seconds.”

Mayers’ career includes earning All-TVC, as well as all-district for four consecutive years.

“She probably would’ve received a lot more attention if it weren’t for Riley Fee (who graduated in 2020) running in front of her last year,” Kirkpatrick said.

However, Mayers was expected to return to the state meet this year.

“For her to make it back was a big deal,” said Kirkpatrick. “As a team, we finished 12th at the regional meet based on our times at the district meet. We finished where we were going in. It was a great year for us.

Moreover, it was an excellent year for Mayers.

The Lady Vikings lose four seniors off this year’s squad, including Mayers, Jenna Crowe, Savannah Perry, and Emily Reynolds - all who were part of last year’s state qualifying team.

Kirkpatrick said his team would be young next season, led by one upper-classman in Hanna Scarrett, the lone senior on the team, and freshmen Madi Deck and Josie Mulhern, who completed their first varsity season.

“Next season will be an interesting year for us,” said Kirkpatrick. “I will be working on getting more kids out, but if those three sticks with it and they get a good track season in, we will be ok. It really comes down to what I can do to fill in around them.”