JA CC squad ready for final meet of season

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Jase Headings (pictured) be among the Jonathan Alder runners who will compete in the Division II state cross-country meets on Saturday.
(Photos submitted)
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The Jonathan Alder boys cross-country team will compete at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday during the Division II state meet.
Action will be held at National Trails Raceway near Hebron.
Prior to the boys meet, JA will be represented by a pair of freshmen, Morgan Hicks and Maddie Davis, in the girls D-II meet at 11:45 a.m.
The boys will line up with Luke Malone, Gavin Frick, Jase Headings, Michael Gray, Zach Hicks, Brady Corbitt and Caleb Freyhof.
Malone, Frick and Headings have each broken the 17-minute mark during the season.
Malone has been clocked in 16:28, while Frick and Headings have respective best times of 16:40 and 16:44 for the season.
Gray comes in next at 17:13, followed by Hicks-17:44, Corbitt-18:01 and Freyhof-19:05.
The respective best times for Hicks and Davis are 18:48 and 19:21.
Malone is a sophomore who is now only seven seconds away from the Alder all-time 5K record. He won the Benjamin Logan Early Bird Invitational to begin the season.
Malone earned first-team honors in the Central Buckeye Conference with a second-place finish and was named all-district after placing third in that race.
“Luke made a difficult decision to give up baseball in the spring to commit to track,” said JA coach Justin Creps. “That has paid off for him in the form of an excellent sophomore cross-country season.”
Frick, a sophomore, currently holds the fifth-fastest time in school history, earned first team all-league and all-district honors.
“Like Luke, Gavin also gave up baseball last spring to commit himself to running and to track and field,” said Creps. “We’re seeing that decision pay off in the fall with cross-country.
“The two sophomores compete year-round and push themselves to the outstanding success we are currently experiencing,” said Creps.
Headings is the lone senior on the squad and is in his first year of cross- country.
“Jase is an outstanding 800 runner in track, but had his season end earlier than he wanted after a mistake in race strategy at the regionals last season,” said Creps. “He went out too hard and wasn’t able to finish the final straightaway of his race with any kick. That cost him a shot at the state title the following week.”
Headings earned first-team honors in the CBC and district.
Gray, a sophomore, missed the first three weeks of the season due to a stress fracture.
“Michael battled back from this setback and has managed to be about two minutes faster than he was last year,” said Creps. “His improvement is the ‘x-factor’ which has brought our team to the next level.  His time is currently 12th in school history. He was first team all-CBC and earned all-district honors.”
The Pioneers’ top five has consistently included the sophomore Hicks.
“He is a hard worker and a consistent performer,” said Creps. “Zach earned second-team CBC honors this season.”
Corbitt, a freshman, currently holds Alder’s junior high cross-country record.
“Brady is a very talented runner who learned how to work and compete at the high school level throughout the season,” said Creps of the CBC second-team honoree. “He scored valuable points for our team in three invitationals.”
Creps said that Freyhof, another freshman, improved more than any other runner in the program.
“Caleb held off several more experienced runners to earn the seventh and final spot on the varsity team heading into the post-season,” said Creps.
Creps said Alder’s state-qualifying girls are strong runners.
“Morgan is an incredibly talented freshman, with long distance running ability unlike any other female in Alder’s cross-country history,” said Creps. “I knew she was going to have a strong freshman season, but when she beat Aziza Ayoub’s school record by more than 20 seconds in only her fourth high school meet, even I was blown away.”
Hicks battled some health issues as the season wore on, but bounced back to earn first-team CBC honors.
She won the Central District meet to become JA’s first female individual district CC champion.
She and Davis are only the third and fourth girls in school history to qualify for the state cross-country meet.
Davis posted the third-fastest time in JA girls history.
“Maddie brings incredible energy to the team and was probably our most consistent performer on the girls side this year,” said Creps. “She was the top runner for us at the CBC meet, placing second overall and earning first-team honors.”
Davis placed fourth in the district to earn a spot on that team as well.



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