For the fifth year in a row the Fairfield Lions boys cross country team qualified for the state cross country meet in Division III.
The program has placed at least one runner in the state meet for seven consecutive years.
Fairfield head coach Raymond Friend had high expectations for his team coming into the season. When asked if the team had fulfilled his expectations he said, “Yes. They are a highly experienced and deep team.”
“We have our own team goals. We have been working for this race all year long. I just want them to run to the best of their ability and see what happens. I believe that good things will happen if we run to the best of our ability,” said Friend.
The motivation of the boys team is a result of seeing the athletes before them have success.
“They saw one kid do it and then some of them really had success at the middle school age. Everyone of those kids were good in middle school. They saw what Blake and Michael were able to do and some of our first teams to qualify for state. Then they want to do that, it makes motivating them easier,” Friend said.
Friend believes that the level of competition between the boys on the roster is what has made the team better as they years have progressed.
“We had some athletes, when we first started, that knew their spot on the team was secure. It’s not like that anymore. If you want to be on the top seven you have to put the effort in. That’s what has made us better,” Friend told The Times-Gazette.
Assistant coach Bill Mangus added, “One thing that I think these guys have had an influence on is the local running scene has gotten a lot better around here. You have some really good local runners. The level of the local running scene has gotten much better. I think, probably, because of the success that these guys have had.”
Senior Noah Richmond thinks that the team can still do better. “I really think that you can’t put a limit on us. Every time we set a goal we end up exceeding it. A lot of us don’t set a limit to ourselves we just go as much as we can.”
“This is actually a feeling that is pretty hard to explain. When you come in as a freshman and are at the back of the pack and you think ‘no way.” Then, as you get older and you see your team form and you see yourself getting higher and higher,” said Richmond.
Matthew Mangus, a senior, wants the team to do well together and said, “I just hope that we can finally run our best race as a team. We haven’t really had one race where our whole team has ran a good race. I just hope we can pull that off.”
Austin Setty, a junior, feels good about himself and the team, “This being my third year around these guys a lot has helped me improve.”
Freshman Cohen Frost is looking forward to his first experience at the state meet, “It’s exciting. It is going to be a great experience. I am a freshman, its going to be my first time and I hope to make it with the team a few more times.”
The D III boys will take the course at National Trail Raceway for the scheduled start of their race at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.