They’ve run by the motto: “More than a dream in 2013.”
The Lexington boys cross country team lived it Saturday at Tiffin’s Hedges Boyer Park during the Division II regional race when the Minutemen took the fourth and final qualifying team spot for the state championships.
“It’s pure excitement. I wanted it all season. It’s amazing to actually make it,” Lex junior Kyle Frey said. “Last week (at the Galion district) I had the worst race of my life pretty much. To come back and do what we wanted to do this year in what we thought was a dream and it just came real, it’s so crazy.”
In maybe the toughest D-II regional in the state, Lexington had to do better than Bay, a team ranked inside the top five in the state as late as two weeks ago. The Minutemen had to be at their best if they were going to achieve their dream.
Defiance and Van Wert, the other top five teams in the state, did their jobs and finished 1-2 in the team standings, but Bryan edged into third. Lexington coach Denise Benson didn’t score Defiance, Van Wert or Bay in the race, instead focusing on Bryan, Wauseon and others for the final slot. But she had a feeling they might have nipped Bay, saying she didn’t see them dominating the race.
The coach was right.
“I would say it was darn close to spot on,” she said of her team’s performance, which was 12 points better than fifth-place Bay.
Junior Zane Sturts was the regional runner-up in 16:05, a second off his personal best, while sophomore Nick Stricklen was fourth in 16:12, a second off his PR and the school’s sophomore record.
Frey, who was the team’s fifth runner in Galion because of a head cold on a rainy day and a muddy course, knocked 44 seconds off that time to run a 17:17 over the 5K route. Junior Quinton Glenn, normally the team’s No. 3, was fourth-best in 17:32 after twisting his ankle in the race. Junior Mitch Bastin was right behind with a 17:35, while seniors’ Austin O’Diam and Dustin Lumadue ran 17:50 and 18:12 respectively.
“It’s a very young team,” Benson said. “That’s exactly why it took every work out to make it. They don’t have raw talent across the board. It was hard work and determination one week at a time for this dream to come true.”
The Minutemen are realistic about their chances when the gun goes off at 2:15 p.m. at National Trail Raceway in Kirkersville on Saturday. They’re not thinking about team trophies; instead, they’re treating it as a reconnaissance mission.
“Honestly, next year’s is going to be awesome,” Sturts said, “but this is where we really get experience so next year maybe we’ll not be as nervous.”
With the top five returning next year and a couple of standout junior high runners ready to join them as freshmen, 2014 is when the Minutemen can really leave their mark. But until then, they’re content living out the dream of 2013.
“We get to look forward to a few more workouts and miss school on Friday,” Sturts said.
Living the dream, indeed.