By Rob Kiser
This time, Andy Mayse “finished” the race.
The Piqua senior became the first Piqua runner to qualify for the state meet since 1999, finishing 12th at the Troy Division I regional boys cross country race in 16:33.62.
“Getting to state has been a goal since my freshman year,” Mayse said. “I have been to regionals three times. It is kind of amazing to think about that (17 years since a Piqua runners has been to state). Hopefully, this will inspire the whole program.”
And Mayse has been driven since the regional race a year ago.
The top 16 advanced to state a year ago (this year it was 20) and Mayse was in position to do exactly that for most of the race.
“I lost that race in the last 800 meters,” Mayse said. “It doesn’t do you any good to carry the race if you don’t finish it.”
On Saturday, Mayse knew he needed to get off to a good start and he did that.
“It was a good first mile,” he said. “I was right where he needed to be.”
At the two-mile mark he was in 12th-place.
“I thought I was about 12th or 13th, I wasn’t sure,” Mayse said. “One guy passed me. There was a guy who went down, so I got that spot back. I just wanted to stay strong to the finish.”
And as he came towards the finish line, Mayse was taking no chances.
“You have to finish the race,” he said. “What I was thinking was there will be time to celebrate after you cross the finish line. You need to finish the race.”
Once he did, he could think about what he had accomplished.
“All the miles, all the time I have put in,” he said. “This makes it all worth it. Making it to state had been a goal since I was a freshman. To make it as a senior is probably icing on the cake.”
And you can be sure — no matter what happens next week — the recent West Point commit will “finish” his final high school race in style. The school record of 16:05 would be an added bonus.
“I don’t know,” Mayse said about next week’s goal. “Top 50 — it would be nice to get the school record.”
On Saturday, he “finished” the goal he set for himself four years ago.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.