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Coach pleased with Green girls cross country program’s progress

10/24/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — Green High School girls cross country head coach Jake Saylor said his team did “an outstanding job” this season.

“One of our goals coming into the season was to finish high in the league, and the only Suburban League team to beat us was Nordonia, and Nordonia has an outstanding team,” he said.

Green finished in second place at the Suburban League Super Dual meet at the beginning of the season (on Aug. 28) and also finished second at the Suburban League Championship meet Oct. 12.

“To finish second was a huge accomplishment for us,” the coach said. “At the league championship meet, we got an average team time of 21:30. And it was at a very difficult Goodyear course, where the times are anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds slower.”

At the Oct. 19 district meet, Green finished in fifth place — narrowly missing out on a chance to move onto the regionals.

“We got an average team time of 21:14, which is our best team time on average for the whole season. So they ran really well,” Saylor said. “The girls gave it everything they had.”

Individually, Green had one runner move on to the regional meet. Sophomore Alyssa Thomas finished eighth overall at the district meet, where she ran a 20:07, matching her best time of the season.

“I think she has a good chance to make it out [of regionals],” Saylor said. “She’s worked hard this season, and I think she’s peaking at the right time.”

According to the coach, Thomas has been Green’s No. 1 runner this year.

“She made First-Team All-League. She finished eighth at the Suburban League meet,” he said. “She never quits and never complains. Every workout she puts in, she goes 100 percent. She is always pushing herself to that next level, and that’s why she is seeing such success this season.”

Saylor said this year’s squad, which featured 21 athletes, was on the younger side.

“I only had one senior, and she was our second runner on the team,” he stated.

The team’s lone senior this year was Ashley Augustynovich.

“Her best time this season is 20:30,” the coach said. “She made First-Team All-League [on Oct. 12], where she finished ninth overall. She has really battled through some injuries this year. She had a quad injury, so she’s done a lot of cross training and stuff like that. She really put in the miles this year and she’s really been a leader.”

The only two juniors on the squad are No. 3 runner Milica Mijatovic and No. 7 runner Katie Hammes, Saylor said.

“Milica’s come along strong here in the later part of the season. She has a great work ethic and she puts in the miles. Even though she’s not a senior, she’s a leader on the team,” the coach said. “Katie is a strong runner, and I’ve seen a lot of improvement from her in the last couple of races.”

The team’s other key runners include sophomore Miriam Blaine, freshman Lauren Hopkins and sophomore Sara Schaub.

“Miriam and Lauren have really pushed each other in practice. They put in all the summer miles, and they have a determination to succeed,” Saylor said. “Sara has battled through some knee injuries. She has done a lot of cross training.”

At the district meet, Schaub (21:38) and Blaine (21:22) ran season-best times, Saylor said.

Overall, the second-year coach said he saw “a lot of improvement” from his team as the season progressed.

“We had a lot of freshmen step up this year,” he said. “All three freshmen that ran actually have run varsity here in the last part of the season, and they have worked incredibly hard and I’ve seen a huge amount of improvement in their races this season.”

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