On Saturday, those local cross country runners that qualified for the regional competition at Pickerington competed for the chance to run at the state competition next Saturday. Out of those from Scioto County who competed at regionals, Minford senior Mathew Harris and Portsmouth senior Aiden Kammler were the lone two runners to qualify for state competition following their performance at Pickerington Saturday morning.
In the Division III Region 11 boys’ race, Harris finished 17th out of 131 competitors. He needed to finish among the top twenty competitors, and just barely did so with a time of 17:01.3. “It’s surreal” said Harris when discussing his qualification for state competition, “I think it’s still settling in for me. When something like running has been a big part of your life for the last six years, it’s really been a main goal for me and I think it’s really good I was able to do it this year.”
Harris finished just 4.4 seconds ahead of a competitor from Fairfield who finished in 21st place and did not qualify for state due to having to had placed in the top twenty to do so. For Harris, that’s definitely something that crosses his mind when he’s running and competing. “A mile and a half in I was in the top ten” said Harris, “And then I kind of hit a wall and started falling places. It came down to about 800 meters and I was in twentieth at the time. The top twenty go on to advance so that’s on your mind the whole time. We went through this wooded area and there was no crowd, just you and your other competitors. A couple guys in front of me fell off and I was able to get some energy and go past them and was able to get 17th which was pretty important to myself.”
Harris became the first cross country runner from Minford in twenty years to qualify for the state competition. Harris says he plans to run cross country at the collegiate level if a school with his major is interested in recruiting him. He says he plans on studying engineering in post-secondary school, whether it be civil or mechanical engineering.
Aiden Kammler, a senior from Portsmouth, had the best placing among the two as he was able to finish 10th among 181 competitors in the Division II Region 7 race with a time of 16:43.5. The top twenty-eight from Kammler’s race qualified for the state competition next Saturday, a feat Kammler was well ahead of by over 35 seconds.
“It’s just a dream come true” said Kammler when discussing his qualification for the state competition, “Being able to qualify for state is the goal I’ve been working towards for the last four years”.
Kammler said that after a rocky start in last year’s regionals, he knew a quick start would be key to placing where he wanted to going into the event. “Me and my coach talked about it before” said Kammler, “I knew that I had to get out there quick because last year I got stuck in the back and just could never move up. I knew it was mostly mental, so I had to get over there and keep going no matter what”.
The Portsmouth senior hopes to place in the top twenty among the two hundred or so runners that will be competing in this year’s Division II race, a feat that would give him all-state status, a great accomplishment to end his senior season. Kammler also would like to continue running as he pursues a college education, if an opportunity presents itself.
The Division III boys’ race will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning in Hebron, while the Division II race will be held at 11:45 a.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT