By Rob Kiser
TROY — Senior Andy Mayse and the Piqua boys cross country team got the season underway at the Lost Creek Invitational Tuesday, a two-mile race.
And while Mayse has big expectations for his senior season after being a state placer in the 1,600 last spring, Tuesday was just the beginning of the journey.
And Mayse understood that after his seventh-place finish in 10:49.
“It is kind of tough,” Mayse said. “You go from track and you come back for cross country and early in the season, you don’t have that foot speed. We have doing a lot of miles work to get ready for cross country and haven’s done a lot of speed work. It is hard to find that extra gear when you need it.”
But, he knows that will come.
“You start to taper off at the end of the season and do speed work and pick up speed,” he said.
And Mayse is excited about the upcoming season — and not just for himself.
“I have been to regionals the last two years,” he said. “Obviously, getting to state is the goal. We have two great coaches. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t make it to regionals as a team if we put the work in.”
Mayse will be back in action at the Covington Eagle Invitational Saturday, where he is the defending champ. That race will be run at the traditional 3.1 miles.
“I think I might have the course record there, but I am not sure about that,” Mayse said. “I don’t want to give that up (his title), being a senior, but it is going to be tough. Definitely, I look forward to it.”
And he wouldn’t mind a little cooler weather.
“The heat it tough,” he said. “I look forward to when it is 30 degrees and you have to wear pants and a long sleeve shirt to the meet.”
In the boys race, Piqua finished seventh and Newton finished eighth, while the Piqua girls finished sixth.
“It was our first meet so some rust needed to be shaken off,” Piqua coach Kyle Bowman said. ” It was hot. I was happy with how the race developed. We stressed the importance of not going out fast. We wanted to be conservative the first half of the race and move up and pick people off who were fading because of the heat and the difficulty of the 2nd half of the race.
“You could really tell who went out to hard because they were cooked at the end and we capitalized on that. Our times were not where we wanted them to be but considering the day I thought we did fine.”
The rest of Piqua’s top seven were Dante Kemp, 32, 12:05; Bradley McPherson, 57, 12:51; Mitch Fletcher, 65, 12:57; Dakota Ward, 78, 13:13; Cameron Brown, 84, 13:39; and Gaven Barnes, 93, 14:27.
Newton runners places and times included Ryan Mollette, 18, 11:42; Tristan Benedict, 25, 11:58; Curtis Shellaberger, 55, 12:48; Charlie Walker, 87, 13:50; and Toby Hunt, 106, 15:45.
Piqua girls top seven included Lauren Gray, 22, 14:25; Kenna Bell, 32, 14:56; Meredith Butt, 49, 15:39; Alisah Richard, 53, 15:49; Lily Stewart, 54, 15:50; Ainsleigh Spradlin, 55, 15:57; and Elizabeth Cox, 58, 16:01.
Macy Flanary finished 12th in 13:31 for Newton.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.