Lady Comets runners head to district championship race

By Megan Parker - For the News-Times

The Lady Comets cross country team opened the postseason with a third place finish at the Southwestern Conference championships.

The team was led by freshmen Leah Johnson and Kalyn Potyrala. The duo took seventh and eighth places, each earning first team All-Conference honors.

“I felt good and proud about the race this weekend and with my time,” said Potyrala. “My goal for this week’s race is stay up with (Johnson) and to get a new personal record, or maybe break 20:00.”

The varsity team was rounded out by Ashley Hill, Ally Potyrala, Alana Moore, Mariah Watson, and Rachel Szczodrowski.

“Our strength is in how close our top five have been to each other,” said head coach Terry Kemp. “We need to continue to maintain that closeness.”

Led by senior Megan Parker and junior Kailey Reed, the junior varsity team took second place in the meet. It was the last race of the season for most of the JV runners.

“This is without question one of the best JV teams our school has ever had,” said Kemp. “Having 17 girls under 22:00 is a remarkable performance also, by far our best ever.”

For many of the team’s seniors, it was the last meet of their high school career. Fourth-year senior Tiffany Gomez reflected on her high school cross country career.

“It was truly a life-changing experience. I always knew that if I just put on my running shoes, my day was going to be filled with happiness,” said Gomez. “I will never forget my experience on this team.”

Third-year senior Heather Wigton helped the team with a 12th place individual finish.

“I will definitely miss running with this team but I am so glad that I joined and I got to form friendships that will last a lifetime,” she said.

Third-year senior Ashley Cogdell improved this season after struggling with iron deficiency last year.

“I never imagined that running would impact my life in such a big way,” she said. “I am thankful for the amazing people I have met.”

Other seniors who ran their final race on Saturday included Caleigh Lavish, Elizabeth Northeim, and Emily Wiegand.

The varsity team will now advance to the district championship.

“I’m optimistic. October is about performing at your best, and when you do, great things happen,” said Kemp. “The kids have been running well. There are so many things to be encouraged about. We’re really looking forward to the next two weeks.”

The district championship race will be held Saturday, Oct. 24 at Lorain County Community College.

By Megan Parker

For the News-Times