By Rob Kiser
That Piqua High School senior Andy Mayse is an outstanding distance runner in track and cross country is no secret.
But, the son of Doug and Terri Mayse is so much more than that.
So, it seemed only fitting that on Veteran’s Day Friday, Mayse would make official his decision to attend West Point and run for Army. Mayse has already received an LOA (letter of assurance) and will receive his appointment early in 2017.
“It is a great school and a great career,” Mayse said about Army. “It is always good to be able to serve your country.”
In fact, the scholar athlete had been planning his future for quite some time.
“I kind of settled on West Point when I was a sophomore,” Mayse said. “It is a something where you have to make a decision early. You have to go through one of the congressman, which in my case was Jim Jordan. I recently received an LOA, which means as long as you finish the application process, you will be accepted. It is something I really wanted and am excited about.”
Mayse looks forward to the challenge of running at Army.
“I am sure I won’t be the number one runner like I am here,” Mayse said. “But, I am going to work hard and do my best.”
Whether it is in the classroom, on the athletic field or the way he interacts with others, Mayse has always had a special quality.
That comes as no surprise to Piqua cross country coaches Kyle Bowman and Ryan King.
“If you look at it, distance runners tend to be self-motivated people,” Bowman said. “That is a proven fact. If you look at our cross country teams, 10 of the 21 runners are 4.0. They are people who are going to be successful in life. Army is a great place for Andy (Mayse). If you look at how hard he works and how he and others have motivated him, he is going to be successful in life.”
Piqua boys track and field coach Scott Kaye has witnessed it for four years.
“From the time he was a freshman, he was a leader,” Kaye said. “He set the example and put the work in. First, you are happy for him because he is such a great kid and he has put the work in — to see that hard work pay off is great. It is (great for the younger runners to see the example Mayse sets).”
That hard work has led to success athletically as well.
Mayse was a three-time Division I regional qualifier in cross country and this year became Piqua’s first state qualifier since Travis Deaton in 1999. He had a PR of 16:11, coming within six seconds of the school record and finished 62nd at the state meet.
And Mayse is looking forward to the track season this spring.
After solid seasons as a freshman and sophomore, Mayse had a breakout season last spring.
He qualified for state in both the 1,600 and 800 — finishing seventh in the 1,600 in 4:14.77 to make it up on the podium. He also was the regional champion in the 800, despite having running it only a few times during the season.
“Definitely,” Mayse said about looking forward to the track season. “I may run a few indoor meets — probably not a whole season. First in the 1,600 (at state) is definitely a goal.”
It would be hard to top Friday’s special day.
“For a scholar athlete to be accepted at West Point — I don’t ever remember anything like that happening here,” Kaye said. “This is pretty special.”
Just like Mayse.