The Greater Miami Conference girls cross country title has resided just a tad to the north of Sycamore High School for the past five seasons. Since Sycamore last won the league in 2009, Mason has won the rest.
The gap could be closing as Sycamore finished sixth in the Sycamore Sunset Invitational Aug. 24, to Mason’s fifth. However, Lakota West was second to the Invite winner Turpin of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
Coach Rick Shomo’s Lady Aves lost a dominant performer, Rosie Menyhert, to graduation. Hoping to fill that void are junior Allison Kossen and sophomore Jodie Lawson, who were both second team GMC last season.
Sycamore also has some reinforcements as freshman Olivia Anaple finished 11th overall out of 363 girls in the Sycamore Sunset meet in 20:42.50. Kossen was 22nd and Lawson 26th.
Finishing in the top 100 were sophomore Jaslyn Johnson-Davis, junior Jessica Wocks, senior Grace Anaple and freshmen Sarah Guedira and Molly Hayes.
“I like our young talent coupled with seasoned veterans,” Shomo said.
The Lady Aves take part in the Mason Invitational Sept. 12, followed by the Trinity/Eaton Invitational on Sept. 19.
Jeff Johnson heads up the Mount Notre Dame cross country program for 2015 as he tries to move the Cougars up in the Girls Greater Catholic League. MND has been last for five consecutive years, but Johnson hopes to change the mindset.
Moving ahead would be monumental as last year the the top five GGCL teams were separated by only 14 points. Johnson came on in June and was surprised at the available talent.
Returning starters are senior Allison Rogiers, junior Beth Heimbuch and sophomore Emma Sander. As a junior, Rogiers was second-team All-GGCL.
“Last year she lowered her 5K cross country PR by two minutes,” Johnson said. “She missed qualifying for her first-ever regionals by about 15 seconds and four places. Allison’s early training has been spectacular and if she continues she’ll be one of the best runners in the city.”
Others to watch at MND are senior Chloe Griffith and sophomore Erin McLean.
“Last year, injuries decimated the team,” Johnson said. “This year we implemented a comprehensive approach to training, including bringing in our own strength and conditioning coach. We have also cut back the number of miles the girls run, while increasing the pace at which they run those miles. I think MND will be competitive and we’ll have one of our best teams in the last 10 years.”
MND next competes in the Cedarville Friendship Meet Sept. 19 at Cedarville University.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy has gotten off to a strong start this season. As of Sept. 3, Rachel Haslem, Laura Dykstra and Maria Pancioli owned the top three fastest times in the Miami Valley Conference.
Haslem’s mark of 19:17.00 at Cincinnati Country Day put her in the top five in the city at this early juncture of the season. Dykstra’s time during that race (21:00) also put her among the top times in the city. Haslem was the conference’s runner of the year last year and Dykstra received second-team honors.
Pancioli and Sydni Schramm round out the Eagles’ top four runners. Schramm, like Dykstra, received second-team honors last year.
Stephen Carter coaches the Eagles.
Ursuline lost a lot of its top varsity athletes, but coach Rachel Bea said that has not dampened spirits. Instead, she added, the girls know they need to work extra hard to replicate successes of the past.
Anna Herriott, Katie Harmeyer, Nicolle Naylor and Claire Abele are the Lions’ returning starters. Herriott, Harmeyer and Naylor had a hand in helping Ursuline finish third in the Girls Greater Catholic League.
All three received all-conference recognition from the GGCL.
In addition to that returning core, the Lions add a group of freshmen that Bea expects to contribute quickly.
“We have an extremely strong group of newcomers who are not only talented, but very hard working and focused,” she said. “Their presence has already encouraged others to take their training seriously for fear of losing a varsity position.”
The Lions ran in the Queen City Invitational Sept. 5 and will run in the Mason Invite Sept. 12.
Another year of Cincinnati Country Day girls cross country means another year of Grace Pettengill leading the Indians.
As a sophomore, she was 42nd at the Division III regional meet in Troy with a time of 21:56.85 and was the only CCD runner to make the Miami Valley Conference first team.
She could lead teammates such as Lorae Stojanovic, Anna Geohegan, Kaitlyn Hardesty, Keyra English and Kaylin Hofman.
The Indians are coached by Merle Black.