Beautiful day for a cross country meet

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Terry and Connie Nance offer inspiring words to runners prior to the start of the middle school girls’ cross country race at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic held Oct. 2 at the London Country Club golf course. The meet is named after Terry and Connie’s daughter, the late Erin L. Nance.

(Posted Oct. 4, 2021)

Photos by Pat Donahue, Staff Photographer

The 47th Annual Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic took place on Oct. 2 at the London Country Club golf course.

The meet is named after Erin L. Nance, a cross country runner who passed away as a result of a car accident in 1998, her senior year at London High School.

The meet, which attracts hundreds of middle school and high school runners, got its start in 1974 as the London Invitational. Marty Komives created the event and served as meet manager through 1977.

Terry Nance, Erin’s father, took up the reins as meet manager in 1978 and continues in the role to this day. The meet, renamed the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic in 1998, has run continuously with the exception of last year when it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Competitors in the boys’ varsity race at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic make their way up the first hill of the 3.1-mile course at the London Country Club. Hundreds of high school and middle school runners from area schools competed on Oct. 2.

This year, a couple of participants of note included Lana (Mathewson) Williamson, coach of the Grandview Heights Middle School cross country team. A 1999 London High School graduate, Lana was a teammate and friend of Erin. Grandview Heights placed second in team results in this year’s boys’ middle school race and third in team results in the girls’ middle school race.

Also, Nico Ranalli, an eighth-grader at Big Walnut, ran in the meet for the first time. Nico is the son of Erin’s older sister, Amy. He finished fifth in the middle school boys’ race with a time of 12:26.5.

Derek Elfrink (front) and Brady Cahill of London compete in the high school boys’ varsity race at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic in London.

Meet Results

In the girls’ high school varsity race (3.1 miles), Columbus St. Francis DeSales took first place in the team results. London placed sixth. The top finisher among the 63 competitors was Rachael Hoover of Fairbanks with a time of 20:52.7. Local finishers included: Alex Tewalt, London, 18th, 22:46.1; Lily Patterson, London, 29th, 23:37.2; Riley Colestock, London, 35th, 23:58.1; Andria Pollazek, London, 38th, 24:15.2; Amy Burchett, Madison-Plains, 42nd, 24:19.6; Isabelle Tipton, London, 46th, 24:48.7; Paisley Rice, Madison-Plains, 53rd, 26:38.5; and Kate Slane, London, 63rd, 36:54.8.

In the boys’ high school varsity race (3.1 miles), Olentangy placed first in team results. London placed 10th. The top finisher among the 75 competitors was Luke Galloway of Olentangy with a time of 16:41.9. Local finishers included: Jimmy Brayshaw, London, 31st, 19:00; Andrew Geyer, Madison-Plains, 58th, 20:53.5; Owen Howe, London, 70th, 24:02.8; Brady Cahill, London, 72nd, 24:44.9; Derek Elfrink, London, 73rd, 25:44.3; and Aidan Bower, London, 75th, 32:27.3.

Alyssia Mullins of Madison-Plains makes her way along the two-mile course in the girls’ middle school race at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic.

Meg Wolf of Delaware Hayes finished first among 64 runners in the girls’ high school open race with a time of 23:40.3. Jason Rettinger of Olentangy placed first among 176 runners in the boys’ high school open race with a time of 17:45.2.

In the girls’ middle school race (2 miles), Big Walnut placed first in team results. London placed sixth. Maci Tew of Grandview Heights placed first among 93 runners with a time of 12:14.0. Local finishers included: Gracie Howe, London, 22nd, 15:00.2; Ashley Nolan, London, 23rd, 15:00.3; Alyssia Mullins, Madison-Plains, 51st, 16:49.1; Rachel Jackman, London, 59th, 17:10.9; Josie Ruble, London, 66th, 17:59.7; Julia Mullins, London, 71st, 18:34.4; and Alaia Legrand, London, 90th, 22:00.3.

In the boys’ middle school race (2 miles), Delaware John Dempsey placed first in team results. Geert Fischer of Grandview Heights finished first among 114 runners with a time of 12:08.5. Local finishers included: Matthew Dwyer, London, 8th, 12:38.6; Eli Noble, London, 12th, 12:46.5; Griffin Loton, London, 16th, 13:09.9; Myles Kramer, London, 37th, 14:15.5; Thomas Herman, London, 40th, 14:26.6; Caelan Mars, London, 55th, 15:08.0; Grant McCoy, London, 58th, 15:18.2; Patrick Madden, Madison-Plains, 62nd, 15:26.2; Johnny Grigsby, Madison-Plains, 68th, 15:51.4; Kaleb Long, London, 88th, 17:12.1; Wyatt Napper, London, 95th, 17:36.0; Jack Peters, London, 103rd, 19:12.3.

Owen Howe, a member of the London High School cross country team, crosses over a bridge on the London Country Club golf course, the site of the annual Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic. Races took place on Oct. 2.
And they’re off! Competitors in the middle school girls’ race head out on their two-mil race at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic in London.
Big Walnut eighth-grader Nico Ranalli (left) starts his race toward the front of the pack. This was his first time running in the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic, a meet that holds special meaning to his family. Nico is the son of Amy (Nance) Ranalli, Erin’s older sister. Nico stayed toward the front of the pack, finishing in fifth place.
Grandview Heights eighth-grader Maci Tew takes first place in the two-mile middle school girls’ race at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at the London Country Club golf course. Her coach, Lana Williamson (far left), cheers her on while noting her results. Williamson has spent a lot of time on this course herself as a London graduate (1999), cross country runner and a good friend of the event’s namesake, Erin Nance. This year marked the third time that 13-year coach has brought her team to the event.
Every year, volunteers sell t-shirts at the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic. Proceeds go to the Erin L. Nance Memorial Scholarship Fund at London High School.
A display at the entrance to the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic honors the memory of the meet’s namesake. Erin had been a cross country runner at London High School, earning all-conference and all-district honors. She also ran track, was an honor roll student, and was a member of the National Honor Society. She lost her life in a car accident in 1998, her senior year at London.

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