Most people know that to be a good runner, especially in cross country, you have to put in the time and miles to do it. That’s exactly what the boys and girls at Fairfield High School did this summer according to 15th year head coach Raymond Friend.
“We are a stronger team this year and it is because of the miles that the student athletes have put in in the summer,” Friend said of his team’s dedication in the off season. “If you want to be good in October, there has to be some self-motivation in June and July. I can’t wait until our first meet in Marietta to find out how good they are.”
In 2014, the Lions won the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, the district tournament, were third at the regional meet, and finished 16th at the state meet. The goals for the boys are simple this year: to be in the top two teams at regionals and place higher at the state meet.
“We want to place much higher at the state meet in Hebron this season,” Friend said of his team’s goals. “Last year we did not run well in the state race and we have learned from that and we are a stronger team this year.”
Leading the boys team will be Wyatt Evans, Matthew Mangus, Dillon Burley and Trent Tate. There are 16 total boys on the team and thanks to the summer miles the boys put in, competition has become quite close within the team.
“It starts with Wyatt, but each of these guys have led by example and put in a lot of summer miles,” Friend said about his boys. “This year I have about 11 runners with the ability to be on our top seven that will be able to complete in the tournament. The competition has inspired them to come into camp in better shape. I really think it will come down to our last couple of meets before I will be able to name our seven tournament athletes.”
On the girls side of things, there are seven total girls on the team and coach Friend says that they are a very enthusiastic group that has been exciting to coach so far this year.
“I’m really excited about our girls team this year,” Friend said about his Lady Lions squad. “We have seven girls who are enthusiastic and practice hard. Our team will consist of freshmen Megan Gragg, Alexis Swisher Tate, Meadow Cunningham, Sammi Shepherd, Brianna Barnes; sophomore Andrea Spears; and junior Haleigh Bates. This team is fun to coach and could really surprise some teams in our league and in our district tournament.”
The first meet for the teams will be an overnight trip to the Marietta Broughton Nature and Wildlife Area on Aug. 29 at 10 a.m.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext.1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.
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