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MHS Cross Country Teams To Open Season At Lakota East Fall Classic

Posted on: August 22, 2017

SETTING THE SCENE:  Milford High School’s cross country teams will hit the trails for the first time this season, at the Lakota East Fall Classic.  Milford’s boys team finished fourth in at the ECC meet in 2016, while the girls placed sixth.

 

BOY’S PREVIEW:  The boys will be led by Coach Dave Ackerman, who enters his seventeenth year as a head coach of cross country coach at Milford.   Ackerman’s roster includes five experienced seniors who should provide leadership to the team. 

Four of the top five runners were recognized among the top of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference for the 2016 season.  Senior Clayton Virzi, who ended the regular season ranked tenth in the ECC, received first team honors.  Virzi was also the top Milford runner at the ECC Championships, crossing the finish in 10th overall with a career best time of 16:50.  Harris Craycraft, who has been a reliable varsity runner over his high school career, was named second team All-ECC for 2016.  Fighting a midseason injury, Craycraft fought back as Milford’s top runner at the OHSAA District Championship, and he posted a season’s best time of 17:08 at the ECC Championships the previous week.

Classmate Peter Kroeger was named second team All-ECC as well.  Kroeger set a new personal best this year as well, 17:11 at the ECC Championships.  Joining the group in receiving ECC recognition, Sean Vonderhaar was named all-conference honorable mention last season. Vonderhaar placed 21st at the ECC Championships, setting a new career best of 17:18.

Ackerman will seek to replace last season’s fifth man, as Luke Schneider will be playing soccer for Milford this year. Barring injuries, the boys should build on the success of last season’s District race and be very competitive among a talented ECC conference.

  

GIRL’S PREVIEW:  Coach Matt Jorden takes over the Lady Eagles, replacing Tracy Neal-Adams.  Coach Jorden is familiar to Milford runners, as he spent the last several years as an assistant coach in the program and over five years of head coach experience as well.

Jorden welcomes a number of returning runners back to the team for the 2017 season, including junior Andrea Armstrong and sophomore and Olivia Loeffler.  Armstrong led the Lady Eagles late in the season, earning second team All-ECC honors. The sophomore’s time of 20:07 at the ECC Championships was a new personal best and good for 13th place overall.  She was also a qualifier for the 2017 OHSAA State Meet in the 100 meter dash.  As a freshman, Loeffler received honorable mention recognition in 2016. She ended the year with a new personal best of 20:40 at the OHSAA District Championship.

Coach Jorden indicates sophomores Emma Beck and Brooklyn George, and junior Katherine Perez will contribute this season, and welcomes a strong group of freshmen as well as upperclassmen new to the sport.    He looks forward to seeing what the team can accomplish this season.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  The season opens for both squads at the Lakota East Fall Classic on Saturday August 26th at Voice of America Park.  Varsity boys will race at 9:00 am, followed by  girls varsity at 9:30 am.  The boys and girls open races will begin at 10:00 am and 10:30 am respectively.  VOA will be charging for park admission ($5 per car). 

 

BOYS POLL WATCH:  As they did in 2015 and 2016, St. Xavier opens the season at the top of the preseason Cincinnati Enquirer’s area coaches’ poll.  Mason is ranked second, while the ECC is represented by Kings and Turpin are third and fifth respectively.  Elder begins the year ranked fourth.  LaSalle, Lakota East, Anderson, Lakota West and Lebanon round out the top ten.  Loveland received six votes, while Milford did not receive any votes.

 

GIRLS POLL WATCH:  Mason leads the preseason poll for the girls as well, followed by the ECC’s Turpin.  Ursuline Academy is third, with Kings ranking fourth.  Rounding out the top ten; Lakota East, St. Ursula, Lakota West, Colerain, McAuley, and Lebanon.  Anderson received one vote, while the Milford girls cross country team is not listed in the preseason coaches’ poll.