Monday, September 26, 2022

Hawken’s Ella Gilson wins state title

Hawken sophomore Ella Gilson realized a dream on Saturday when she won the Division II state title at the 2018 Ohio High School Athletic Association state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

Gilson finished the race in 18:57, 18 seconds faster than Oakwood freshman Grace Hartman, who placed second.

“I was excited, relieved and thrilled all at the same time,” Gilson said. “It was a goal that came true for me, so I was overjoyed.”

As a freshman, Gilson finished 15th at the state meet.

She focused her training on returning to the meet with the hopes of leading the pack.

“Immediately after the race, I thought, ‘(Oh my God) I’m finally a state champion,’” Gilson said. “My goal was to win the title but I also wanted to get a (personal record), which didn’t happen. I am satisfied with the win but I would like to shave down my time some more next season.”

Gilson went out with a plan and stuck to it, even when she felt pressure from other runners.

“The first mile I was pacing myself and getting a feel for the other competitors,” she said. “By the second mile, I felt confident that I had the ability to win the race and picked up my pace a bit. The third mile was exciting because I still felt strong and knew the race was going to end well for me. That inspired me to finish strong and run with confidence.”

Gilson is the third straight runner from the Chagrin Valley Conference to win the Division II state title. Beachwood’s Leah Roter did it in 2016 and Chagrin Falls’ Annie Zimmer won it last fall.

She hopes to keep that title in the league over the next two seasons.

“I am super inspired to keep that title for the next two years,” she said. “I will do whatever it takes–train hard and stay positive.”

Hawken teammate Julianna Metz also medaled after she finished 13th in 19:20.

Julia Newman (20:49) Lena Sylvan (21:44), Adele Metres (21:57), Amanda Lee (22:57) and Jocelyn Chin (23:03) also competed for the Hawks, who finished 11th as a team.

Chagrin Falls placed ninth.

Azzurra Opperman led the Tigers with a 22nd place finish in 19:41. Rose Hoelzel finished 26th in 19:47. Hannah Clark (20:31), Katarina Lechman (21:11), Catherine Coffey (21:44), Claire Lordan (21:51) and Claire Stinson (22:23) also ran for Chagrin Falls.

Chagrin Falls senior Marshall Sadowski finished 102nd (17:55) in the Division II boys’ race while Orange senior Eddie Harrell placed 115th in 18:05.

Independence junior Emily Skoczen finished 77th in the Division III race with a time of 21:18 and Cuyahoga Heights sophomore Darien Tillet finished 74th in the boys’ race with a time of 17:49.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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