By Rob Kiser
For some, it is a story of accomplishment.
And for Bradford sophomore Karmen Knepp, the state cross country meet is just another chance to rewrite the Bradford record books.
Knepp, since breaking on to the scene as a freshman, just continues to raise the bar for the Railroaders program.
Last Saturday, she finished second at the Division III regional in 19:46.50 after breaking the Bradford school record the week before in winning district.
She became Bradford’s first state qualifier a year ago, finishing 35th in 19:43.2 and looks to improve on that this week.
“I am happy with my place (second at regionals), but not my place,” Knepp said after the race. “I want to go out and run my best race at state.”
Also competing at state as individuals in the D-III race will be Lehman’s Alanna O’Leary and Miami East’s Lorenza Savini and Marie Ewing.
Savini, a senior running at state for the second straight year, is coming off a fourth-place finish at regionals.
“The goal was to get through that race and get back to state,” Savini said after the regional race.”
O’Leary, a junior, finished 15th at the regional.
More importantly, she is headed back to state — where she ran at state as a freshman — before being slowed by injuries as a sophomore.
“I am just so happy right now,” O’Leary said after the regional race. “My coaches and parents have helped me with everything and I really appreciate their support.”
Ewing, a senior, grabbed the 16th and final spot to earn a fourth straight trip to state, a rare accomplishment.
“This is four straight years going to state,” Ewing said after the race. “I am really proud of that.”
Running as a team in the race will be Russia.
The Raiders finished sixth at state a year ago and have five runners back from that team.
Russia, who finished third at the regional, includes seniors Audrey Gariety and Shae Goubeaux, juniors Megan Frazier and Becky Pinchot, sophomores Anna Fiessinger and Claire Meyer and freshman Clare Caldwell.
Frazier led Russia at the regional with an 11th-place finish.
Spitzer, Pleiman in D-II
Versailles boys will have two runners in the boys D-II race.
Junior Joey Spitzer won the regional in 16:17.07 in a photo finish and has the eighth fastest qualifying time.
He finished 37th at state as a sophomore.
“I want to go for something (at state),” Spitzer said. “Maybe top five.”
Senior Noah Pleiman finished ninth at the regional after battling back from knee problems as a junior.
“I am probably not projected to do that well,” he said with a smile after the regional race. “But, I rarely do what is expected. Who thought I would even be here with a chance to do this (after he couldn’t finish his junior season because of his knees).”
Horne back in D-III
Miami East sophomore Gavin Horne is back at state after finishing 14th at the regional.
Last year, Horne finished 55th at the state meet as a freshman.
“Making it to state as both a freshman and a sophomore, I feel good about that,” Horne said. “Last year, I paced myself with a guy who had pulled his hamstring and I didn’t know it. So, that didn’t work out that well.”
The D-III boys race is at 11 a.m., followed by D-II boys at 11:45 a.m. and D-I boys at 12:30 p.m.
The D-III girls race is at 1:30 p.m., followed by D-II girls at 2:15 p.m. and D-I girls at 3 p.m.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.