Things might follow the script at today’s Scioto Valley Conference cross country league meet at Piketon.
The thing is, figuring out that script is difficult.
The favorites are clear. Unioto’s boys’ team has spent the season running past its competition, and is the favorite at today’s meet for a conference title.
Less clear is the field behind the Shermans.
It is the same deal on the girls’ side, but a little less specific. Zane Trace’s Jessie Proehl is the likely favorite, but there’s a serious jam at the top of that race, too.
“When you look at it, there’s going to be a lot of good competition,” Pioneers coach Jennifer Johnston said. “There are a lot of top teams in the SVC, and there are a lot of top runners. Some of the teams might not have the kids who can run in the top five or six, but it’s still going to be interesting to see how things play out.”
For Proehl, a senior who has come into her own in the past two years in cross country and track, today is an opportunity.
“When you look at what she’s done (qualifying for the state meet twice, to start with), it’s a tribute to the work she’s put in,” Johnston said.
“She’s honed the skills you have to have to be a distance runner, but she also studies running. She reads magazines; she goes to camps. She puts in a lot of time.”
Although Proehl might be the frontrunner before the race gets going today, there’s still a lot of drama around the SVC girls, as far as the conference championship. Unioto has come a long way this season, and packs the top of the pack with a lot of runners who can score a lot of points.
On the boys’ side, the Shermans certainly are the leaders, and figure to finish strong enough for the league title. But beyond Unioto, Zane Trace — which finished last in the league just two years ago — has the chance to compete for a high finish today, along with Westfall and Piketon, which have both taken great strides this year.