Independence sent two runners to the Division III regional cross country meet at Boardman on Saturday.
Both advanced to this weekend’s state meet at National Trail Raceway on Nov. 7.
“It was a terrific day,” said Independence coach Craig Polman. “The Boardman course was tougher than average. I think that was part of what some of the other athletes found out. I laugh because I think every year the guys that run at the other regionals think it’s going to be their year. They look at Boardman and see slow times and they start to get excited then the state meet comes along and the people that ran at Boardman do really well against them and it’s like they don’t understand it.”
Slow times didn’t affect the boys race, at least not at the top.
Maplewood senior Tristan Dahmen won the race with a new regional record time of 15:41.30 and Independence junior Tyler Polman finished second with a time of 15:59, which beat Dahmen’s winning time from last year by two seconds.
“Tyler ran the perfect tactical race,” Coach Polman said. “Four of the kids that he beat have beaten him earlier this year. He was on the upper range of where we thought he could end up and he just ran well, both physically and tactically.”
Independence junior Dana Zaccardelli also ran faster than last year to punch her ticket to state.
She finished 20th in 2014 with a time of 20:45 and on Saturday she finished in 19:53, good for 11th place.
“Dana ran well, much stronger the second half of the race than she was last week,” Polman said. “I still think she’s got more in her but obviously she did what she needed to do to advance.”
The Blue Devil runners won’t change much in their routine heading into the biggest meet of the year.
“We don’t do a whole lot different,” Polman said. “We’ll obviously cut back a little bit late in the week to be a little more rested. Early in the week we still get our work in. We get our long runs in and our speed work in.”
The Division III girls race will begin at 11:00 a.m. and the boys are scheduled to start at 1:30.