Independence sent just three runners to the 2015 Dan Olien Invitational at New London High School on Saturday but two of them came home with individual titles.
Tyler Polman won the boys’ race in a time of 16:08, nearly a minute and a half faster than the second place runner, and Dana Zaccardelli took first in the girls’ race with a time of 19:45. She beat the second place runner by one minute and 30 seconds.
“I thought we had a good chance to win both races,” said Independence coach Craig Polman. “I certainly didn’t think we’d be as dominating as we were. It was kind of fun to go out there; two races and two champions.”
Polman’s win was the 16th of his career while Zaccardelli notched her second race win.
“I think the main thing was it was a good confidence builder to go and have a good result as we get into our conference meet and the full tournament round,” Coach Polman said. “For Dana, that was really her second career win. It’s kind of surprising because she really is a good runner. Last year she was hurt all season except for the district and regional meet and she just missed qualifying for state. Her freshman year she won one meet but she was second fiddle to Jen Wisniewski most of the time.”
Freshman Emma Wensink finished 50th with a time of 24:12.
“She has run five races this year and has basically gotten faster every race,” Coach Polman said. “She had another season best on Saturday. She is certainly coming along, getting better each week and adjusting to the distance.”
Independence’s middle school runners also found success at the Andrews Osborne Academy Invitational.
Emily Skoczen set a new course record in winning the girls’ race. She finished in 12:33, 40 seconds ahead of the previous record. Makenna McGhee finished seventh with a time of 13:05 and Paige Westerburg was 19th with a time of 13:50.
Brandon Patton finished 13th in the boys’ race with a time of 12:03 and Richie DiGeronimo was 36th in 13:00.
The Blue Devils will compete in the Chagrin Valley Conference meet on Saturday at Hawken.