Despite low numbers, Streetsboro girls distance squad has promise

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by Steve Batko | Correspondent

A new philosophy has developed for the Streetsboro girls cross country program.

Head coach Robb Kidd will have few numbers to work with this fall, but he will have more focus for each of his Rocket athletes.

Placing sixth out of eight teams in the Division II district meet at Akron Goodyear Metropolitan Park in 2013 gives Streetsboro a reason to strive to improve this campaign.

Kidd, entering his 14th season at the helm, will hope to maintain or improve on last year's third-place finish in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.

"This year's team is reflecting a new approach, smaller numbers, but kids that want to be here," Kidd said.

The Rockets lost five runners to graduation. They are Dana Bindus, Heather Cummings, Megan Melice, Kaitlyn Nuber and Kailyn Williams.

Top performers from last year include seniors Meghan Westerh, Madison Westerh and Hannah Roble and sophomore standout Rachel Woods.

Last fall, Meghan Westerh ran 30th in a muddy, rain-filled district meet.

"We will focus on our individual potential while striving to be the best team that we can," Kidd said. "Our seniors will share their valuable experiences with some talented underclassmen."

Newcomers to the program who are expected to make an immediate impact are sophomores Alexa Brace and Jenna Claussen and freshman Alexia Miller.

After placing third in all of Ohio in 2013, Woodridge should again dominate the PTC County this season.

"We will do our best as a team to be competitive in the County," Kidd said. "The typical powerhouse teams will still be on top [in the PTC County] with Woodridge being the class act.

"I think we have a few runners that should be able to have very successful seasons. It should be a fun season that will determine the future of our program."

The Rockets are scheduled to open the 2014 season at the Billy Goat Challenge Aug. 23 at Woodland Park in McDonald.

A starting time for the race was not available at press time.

Streetsboro is scheduled to run at the East canton Invitational Aug. 27 at 5 p.m.

Boys' squad has youth and experience

Behind a nice mix of experience and youth, the Streetsboro boys cross country team hopes to make some significant strides this season.

Last season, the Rockets placed third in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.

In the postseason, Streetsboro hopes to improve this year behind four strong returnees. In 2013, the Rockets placed eighth out of nine teams in a 2013 Division II district meet.

Second-year head coach Tyler Bunch is optimistic even though he couldn't say who will be his No. 1 runner be.

That's not a bad thing since the Rockets, who lost Matt Kolke, a four-year runner, to graduation, seemingly will possess good team balance.

"Right now, everything is in the air with regards to who is our best runner and they are all very close at practice, which means we should have low spread times," Bunch said.

Returning runners include seniors Tyler Garman and Jake Gould and sophomores Alec Bindus and Jake Suttell. Gould led the team at the district meet with a 39th-place finish.

"I expect big things out of our sophomores, Suttell and Bindus," Bunch said. "They have been working hard all summer and I'm sure it will show at our first meet.

"The seniors [Gould and Garman] are also looking strong and should be running some great times this year."

For the Rockets, the freshman duo of Tommy Duncan and Bailey Deevers should create some excitement this season.

"Bailey Deevers and Tommy Duncan will make an immediate impact," Bunch said. "Our season outlook is very positive. I believe we should place well at our invitationals and hopefully, drop our times enough to compete with Woodridge.

"A few of the keys to our season will be staying healthy and staying focused."

The Rockets are scheduled to open the 2014 season at the Billy Goat Challenge Aug. 23 at Woodland Park in McDonald. A starting time for the race was not available at press time.

Streetsboro is scheduled to run at the East canton Invitational Aug. 27 at 5 p.m.

Residents run in

Twins Day 5K

The following Streetsboro residents ran in the 2014 Twins Day 5K race Aug. 3 in Twinsburg:

• Female (age 15 to 19): Meghan Westerh, 15, fourth, 24:52.6; and Madison Westerh, 16, sixth, 26:26.6

• Male (20-24): Pete Hannan, 20, second, 19:03.3; and Jon Hannan, third, 20, 24:24.2

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