MOUNT VERNON — No matter the mental preparation or the training a runner completes before a big event, it cannot fully prepare them for everything. Sometimes, a little luck is involved.
Fredericktown’s Isaac Potes was the benefactor of that Saturday, winning the high school boys race at the 6th annual Mount Vernon Kiwanis Invitational at Foundation Park.
Potes ran first throughout most of the race, but watched as Victor Pataky of Upper Arlington blew past him just as they entered the final straightaway. That’s when fate stepped in for Potes.
Pataky stumbled and fell about 100 yards from the finish line, allowing Potes to cruise to the individual title in 16:32.5 minutes.
“I had gotten ahead on the backstretch and started picking up the pace to try and drop him because I knew he had a good kick,” Potes said. “But, then he passed me and I knew I had to run faster. I felt bad for him when he tripped. He just overran his feet.
“This course is so uneven. It’s not one of my favorite courses. ... I wasn’t planning on having that much competition. I thought I’d just run fast and finish first.”
Potes’ first-place finish wasn’t quite enough for the Freddies in the team event, though, as Gahanna won the event with a score of 55. The Lions barely outdistanced Worthington Kilbourne, which was second at 56. Mount Vernon finished fifth, Fredericktown sixth, East Knox seventh and Highland eighth in the eight-team race.
Pataky got up to finish second in a time of 16:35.0. East Knox’s Joey Montoya finished fourth overall, running the 5K in 17:15.2. Mount Vernon’s Jarod Vance also finished in the top 10, placing sixth in 17:24.6. Paul Blanchard of East Knox came in 14th (18:04.5), Nick Gaumer of Fredericktown was 20th (18:26.0), Mount Vernon’s Ben Nielson 22nd (18:30.8) and Highland’s top finisher was Logan Ebersole in 36th at 19:11.8.
On the girls’ side, Upper Arlington cruised to the team title behind overall winner Bethany Yunker (19:56.2) and a team that had seven of the top 15 placers.
Mount Vernon’s Celia Leonard was the top local placer, finishing fifth in 20:26.0.
“Everything felt good at the 1 1/2 mile mark, but then I started hitting the wall and was more tired. I tried to push myself the rest of the way,” Leonard said. “(My time) was better than last year, but it’s not my best. ... Fifth place is my best place here.”