Though they lost the Southern Buckeye Conference-American Division Runner of the Year, Bobby Bingham, to graduation, New Richmond High School’s boys cross country team is still in fine shape.
The 2014 league Coach of the Year, Rylan Shebesta still returns Luke Glenn from the SBAAC-American first team and Darik Page and Daniel Stoy from the second team.
“We lost some good ones last year, but we got some good ones that will hopefully come in and do a little bit better,” Shebesta said.
New to the team in 2015 is Ryan Wolf, a sophomore who ran track and has had some early success and some promising freshmen.
One of the benefits of being situated on a hill on Bethel-New Richmond Road is the surrounding terrain. Shebesta’s Lions have plenty of upgrades to get acclimated on, including the infamous Short Hill.
In years past, the police have closed it off so the team could use it to train, but not recently.
“I’m sure the kids are glad we don’t do that any more,” Shebesta said grinning.
The Lions next attack the Mason Invitational Sept. 12, then the Bethel Invitational Sept. 19.
Ryan Cooper and Xavier Hendryx, Batavia’s top two runners of last year, aren’t around anymore.
However, the Bulldogs have a good crop of runners behind them and have a good chance to challenge New Richmond for the SBC American division title this season.
Dylan Young and Nathan DeRose, both of whom were SBC American second-teamers, are back as are Andrew Truske and Shawn Lairos.
Kristin Wells coaches the Bulldogs.
Amelia was fourth in the SBAAC-American a year ago but should improve under coach Shane Heikenfeld. The Barons return Justin Tavner and Tom Casavant who made first team last year as sophomores.
“We have pretty much our top five back,” Heikenfeld said. “Justin Tavner’s our top runner, time-wise. His goal is to make the regional this year and get down around 16:45. Casavant broke 18 (minutes) last year in just his first year running.”
At the Early Bird Run in Felicity Aug. 26, Tavner was third in 17:42.25 and Casavant 12th in 18:29.51. The Barons practiced their pack running from there, with Roger Casavant, Zachary Hagar and Sam Miesman finishing 37-38-39 out of the 121 runner field.
“They’re smaller than the girls team (in numbers),” Heikenfeld said. “They’re goal should be to win league. I don’t think we’re favorites with New Richmond, but that’s still going to be our goal.”
Glen Este has just three boys on their squad in senior Koby Luccasen, sophomore Zechariah Crouch and freshman Aaron Westerndorf.
Ray Prueitt coaches both the boys and girls teams. The Trojans kicked off the season in the Clark Montessori Two Mile at Withrow Aug. 25 and will participate in the Bethel-Tate Invitational Sept. 19.
With the graduation of Nathan Webb, Williamsburg’s focus almost entirely shifts to junior K.C. Jones.
Jones, like he did last year, will lead Williamsburg this season. Last year, he was a regional qualifier and the Southern Buckeye Conference National division runner of the year.
McNicholas won’t have their top runner from last season in Eric Frey, a district participant who just missed out on qualifying for regionals.
However, coach Kyle Jepson returns Jackson Durm, Adam Neltner, Michael Barrett, Ian Bodner and Feliz Polumbo. All of them ran in the district race last season.
Miami Valley Christian Academy recently competed in the Early Bird Run at Washington Township Park in Felicity Aug. 26. MVCA’s top finisher was Brad Grosjean in 19:00.08 for 21st out of 121 runners.
Next in line for the Lions were Jamie Carson at 22:37.32 and Jacob Kaiser at 22:39.29.
“Brad Grosjean made it to the regional meet last season as an individual,” coach Steve Krebsfanger said. “He ran a very solid 10th place at the Cincinnati Country Day Invitational.”
MVCA competes in the Mason Invitational Sept. 12.