CENTERVILLE — Taylor Ewert was simply hoping to run a sub 17:20 time Sept. 22 at Centerville’s Saturday Night Lights cross country meet.
“I don’t like to set too high of expectations,” the Beavercreek High School junior said. “Just whatever happens, happens.”
A lot happened.
Ewert shattered that goal, running the 3.1 mile course in 17:08.1 — just two seconds off the meet record — while winning the star-laden meet and helping Beavercreek claim the team title over four-time defending state champ and meet host Centerville by one point.
“That’s really a big deal,” Ewert said after being told about the team win while she was being interviewed. “Centerville is ranked really high in the country. For our team to be able to beat them is a really big deal for us. We’ve been working really hard to try to beat them. We knew we had it in us.”
The team title was in doubt as Ewert and Centerville’s Emma Bucher entered the stadium after the first mile. Ewert had less than a second lead over Bucher after a trip around the track before heading back out to the rest of the course on an adjacent farm.
But with just a mile left, Ewert’s lead grew to nearly 11 seconds before winning by 9.6 seconds.
The race utilizes portable lights on portions of the course outside the stadium and Ewert used the lighting to her advantage down the stretch.
“I could see in the light. I could see her shadow wasn’t there anymore, so I knew I could definitely put a little bit of a lead on her,” Ewert said. “I didn’t want to lose that gap at all.”
Jodie Pierce (17:41.4) was fifth for the Beavers, followed by Savannah Roark (18:11.6) 17th, Juliann Williams (18:34.2) 28th and Emma Johnson (19:40.9) 78th. For scoring purposes, Beavercreek’s runners were first, fifth, 16th, 25th and 73rd due to several runners not being on complete teams. Centerville’s scored runners were second, 12th, 20th, 42nd and 79th.
“They’ve been working hard so I’m proud of them,” ‘Creek Coach Howard Russ said. “Centerville is a four-time state champ. They’re the standard.”
Legacy Christian’s Ian Ackenhausen turned in his second-straight top-1o finish by placing ninth in the boys varsity B race in 17:22.7. It’s a season-best time for the junior who was injured last year.
“I’m really proud of this race,” he said, adding that he enjoyed the course and running at night.
“It’s a little weird,” he said. “(But) I think it’s a pretty cool difference. It’s a lot of fun though.”
In all, the race featured more than 4,000 runners in 13 races. Runners utilize the all-weather track inside Centerville Stadium as well as a farm located just east of the school’s campus.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.