By Rob Kiser
COVINGTON — Piqua junior Andy Mayse and Russia senior Lauren Heaton added something new to their already impressive resumes Saturday — winning the Lady Bucc Eagles boys and girls cross country meets respectively, while Russia swept the team titles.
Mayse, a returning regional qualifier, won the boys race in 17:25.8 after finishing third last year.
Not only was it Mayse’s first high school win — it is believed to be Piqua boys first individual winner in an invitational
“I thought I could win,” Mayse said after the race. “It has been awhile since I have won a race. It is my first one in high school. That feels pretty good.”
Mayse led from the start — the only time in was close was when he came out of the woods the first time, when Arcanum’s Isaac Stephens was right on his shoulder.
“He started having trouble with his tempo at about the mile and a half mark,” Mayse said. “I am not sure where he finished. I ran a really slow second mile. My first mile was 5:10 and my second mile was 6:10. I usually only drop off by 10 or 15 seconds.”
Mayse quickly opened up a sizeable lead again and kept it the rest of the race.
Russia’s Caleb Ball was second in 17:34.4; while Stephens finished third in 17:47.3.
“I was off my PR by 30 seconds,” Mayse said. “But, it is hard to run a g0od time when no one is up there but the gator. I knew this was a hilly course, so we incorporated some of that into our training. The good thing is if you go uphill, at some point you have to come back down. It is a good way to get the season started.”
Russia won with 46 points, while Milton-Union was second with 52.
The rest of the Raiders top seven were Alex Seger, 6, 18:01.9; Andrew Ball, 8, 18:13.5; Ethan Monnier, 13, 18:41.7; Gavin George, 17, 18:58.8; Jordan Busse, 33, 20:03.4; and Jake Gariety, 40, 20:18.6.
Covington finished third.
The Buccs top seven included Ryan Ford, 9, 18:15.3; Jared Ford, 11, 18:32.5; Conner Ryan, 14, 18:50.0; Josh Sowers, 23, 19:38.4; Nathan Lyle, 28, 19:50.1; Dylan Kelly, 38, 20:17.7; and Hunter Brumbaugh, 39, 20:18.2.
Miami East was fourth
The Vikings top seven were Luke Mengos, 15, 18:50.4; Noah Shook, 18, 19:10.4; Justin DeWeese, 20, 19:26.4; Keagan Casey, 25, 19:41.0; Brandon Mack, 26, 19:45.6; Taton Bertsch, 29, 19:55.3; and Erik Austerman, 35, 20:05.8.
Piqua finished sixth.
The rest of Piqua’s top seven included Isaiah Garber, 19, 19:20.7; Dante Kemp, 47, 20:42.3; Bradley McPherson, 56, 21:54.0; Cameron Leray, 62, 22:17.0; Austin Harshman, 67, 22:51.7; and Preston Schaeffer, 73, 23:19.7.
For Heaton, it is not easy to find new accomplishments.
She is a two-time All-Ohio runner in cross country and past 400 meter state champion in track.
Heaton did exactly that though, leading from the start and winning in 20:22.6. Her teammate Molly Kearns finished second in 20:31.4; , followed by Miami East’s Lorenza Savini in 20:39.4; and three straight Covington runners.
Carly Shell was fourth in 20:49.0; Paige Boehringer was fifth in 21:04.1; and defending champion Anna Dunn was sixth in 21:04.7.
“I didn’t really think about it at the end of the race,” Heaton said about winning. “But, this is the first invitational I have won in high school. It is a really tough course. I knew there were four or five good runners. It could have gone either way.”
Heaton also didn’t run a PR, which was fine.
“I am a little off my time,” she said. “But, today was more about place. I need to get my time down a little, but right now I am happy (with where she is at).”
The Raiders continue to reload rather than rebuild.
Despite having lost a number of quality runners, including All-Ohio runners Lauren Francis and Emily Borchers in the last two years, Russia cruised to victory.
“We have lost some good runners, but we have a really good team,” Heaton said.
Russia won with 34 points, while Covington was second with 47 and Miami East was third with 71. Piqua took fifth with 150.
The rest of Russia’s top seven included Anna Fiessinger, 7, 21:14.3; Megan Frazier, 11, 21:56.7; Shae Goubeaux, 13, 22:08.0; Claire Meyer, 15, 22:25.0; and Audrey Gariety, 17, 22:41.5.
Rounding out Covington’s top seven were Kelsey Dysinger, 16, 22:27.4; Ashlyn Plessinger, 18, 22:41.5; Danielle Alexander, 23, 23:37.3; and Emma Dammeyer, 28, 24:13.7.
East’s top seven also included Marie Ewing, 9, 21:35.2; Lindsey Yingst, 10, 21:44.7; Emma DeWeese, 12, 22:04.6; Meredith Richters, 44, 25:45.3; Emily Hawkins, 53, 26:33.9; and Sami Sands, 60, 27:25.3.
Piqua’s top seven were Meredith Butt, 25, 23:49.0; Juliya Hsiang, 29, 24:13.7; Kenna Bell, 36, 24:51.3; Ainsleigh Spradlin, 39, 25:18.2; Olivia Ames, 51, 26:17.3; Lily Stewart, 55, 26:37.2; and Gabby Knouff, 56, 26:37.5.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.