LOVELAND – Regardless of the circumstances, when you compete in an athletic event and get on the bus with a trophy, you’ve done your job.
Such is the case of the Loveland High School girls cross country team who recently brought the hardware home from the Centerville Invitational Sept. 26. The race featured several top notch Division I programs, but the pacing helped the Lady Tigers in their category.
“We won the varsity II race against a lot of really good teams,” Loveland coach Kristin Scherman said. “We dropped a minute off our overall team time. Every single girl ran a PR and my top two broke 20 (minutes).”
Scherman’s power trio in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference top 10 are senior Ashley Mays, junior Kayla Hartzler and freshman Sydney Cree. Mays was third in the league at presstime behind Leah Maschino of Kings and Samantha Bush of Turpin at 19:34.
Hartzler is also under 20 minutes for the Lady Tigers and freshman Cree is close to joining her.
“She dropped a minute from her time,” Scherman said. “I don’t think she thought she could break into the 19s and she’s only 13 seconds off. My goal is to get all three of them in the low 19s.”
Others among the top 50 in the ECC are junior Stephanie Batsch and seniors Maddy Ribeiro, Ashley Day and Emily Michelfelder.
“We have a lot of new seniors, rookie seniors,” Scherman said. “It’s different than I’m used to. They joined up from soccer and I have two running in the top seven.”
Scherman would like to add more soccer players and has a few lacrosse, softball and swimmers involved. She thinks the cardio training would benefit any who participate and is always actively recruiting the halls.
Loveland hopes to show their improvement Oct. 17 at the ECC meet at Valley View.
“We are going to peak at the proper time,” Scherman said. “We are making the proper strides.”
The Loveland boys team did not fare as well in Centerville, but still had some remarkable performances. Senior Karl Mueller broke 17 minutes with a new personal best of 16:48.52.
Junior Caleb Davis has been close to that mark, but missed the meet due to a soccer injury. He is expected back to lead the Loveland pack along with Mueller and senior Scott Kendrick.
“I think I get two, maybe three guys under 17 before the season’s done,” Tigers coach Mike Smith said. “If we’re going to have any chance of winning conference or going to regionals, we’re going to have at least three guys running under 17 minutes.”
Other top 50 runners for the Tigers are junior Mitchell Laifook, freshman Greg Ballman, sophomore Zach Garner, junior Jacob Korniak, freshman Thomas Gear, junior Brett Kluge and sophomore Gunnar Michelfelder.
“Right now I have nine guys under 18 minutes and I’ve not had that many guys under 18 minutes in one season,” Smith said. “I have another one on the cusp. There’s a good group I’ve got coming up. This is definitely the best team I’ve had.”
After the St. Xavier Invitational, Loveland has an off weekend before the ECC meet Oct. 17.