By Rob Kiser
Piqua senior cross country runner Andy Mayse is on the verge of making school history.
And he is hoping it comes with a school record time.
When Mayse runs at the Division I regionals for the third and final time at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, he has the opportunity to become the first Piqua runner since Travis Deaton in 1999 to run at the state meet.
Deaton finished 52nd at state that year in 16: 37 and Deaton has the school record of 16:05.
“My guess is Travis (Deaton) was the last runner from Piqua to run at state,” Mayse said. “It would be a big accomplishment if I could do that.”
Mayse was just six seconds off the school record at the GWOC.
“I was really hoping to get that (the school record) last week, but it didn’t work out,” Mayse said. “My goal is to run in the 15s, so I am hoping to get the school record.”
Mayse showed his future potential as a sophomore, finishing 17:24.34.
Then as a junior, he finished 18th in 16:27, finishing 18th and just missing the top 16 who qualified for state.
“My sophomore year, I wasn’t that close,” Mayse said. “Last year, I just missed by two spots and that was tough. Definitely, the goal is to get to state.”
He has already done that in track, making it to the podium in 1,600 at the Division I state meet last spring.
“I think the thing about getting to state last year was driven by my improving my kick. I was getting beat at the end of races and I improved my kick, which is why I got to state.”
Mayse has continued that drive to state under first-year coaches Ryan King and Kyle Bowman this season.
“We have a new coaching staff this year,” Mayse said. “It is more planned, where last year it was more random. There are benefits to both ways. The focus this year has been on mileage. I am really happy with where I am at and it has worked out well for me.”
Mayse feels like he has several things working to his advantage this week.
First, there is a change in how many state qualifiers the Southwest District gets in D-I. The top 20 finishers Saturday will qualify for the state meet.
And he knows the course along the Troy Levy Bank well.
“It is kind of a weird course,” Mayse said. “The first mile and half of the course is so fast. Then you hit that big hill and the levy and everybody is cheering. That is the tough part of the course. That is where I got passed last year. I want to get off to a fast start, but I shouldn’t be leading or anything unless I am planning on running 15 (minutes) flat.”
Being in the top 20 when he gets to the finish line is all that matters — a school record time would be an added bonus.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.