Thursday, October 6, 2022

Lions ready to run

With a total of eight returning starters, Orange’s cross country teams are eager to hit the trail this fall.

The Lions return just two starters and three letter winners on the boys’ side while the experience is more prevalent on the girls’ team as six starters return from last season.

“We graduated a large group of senior runners (on the boys’ team), but we look forward to an enjoyable year because of the excellent effort our team has shown so far. We need to keep up the consistent, hard work and enjoy running,” Orange coach Mark Genovese said. “Many of our (girls) varsity runners return from last season, so we have the experience and motivation toward continued improvement. As with our boys’ team, we need to work hard and enjoy the process of improving.”

Leading the way on the boys’ team is junior Erik Nilsson, who posted a best time of 19:48 last season.

“Erik gained valuable experience racing the past two years,” Genovese said. “We look forward to his continued improvement.”

Senior Ben Littlejohn and juniors Sam Roll and Beckham Watson provide valuable upperclassmen leadership for the Lions.

Littlejohn ran a best time of 21:10 last season while Roll and Watson posted season bests of 19:58 and 21:55, respectively.

“Ben has done a wonderful job as one of our senior leaders and we look forward to a fun season with him,” Genovese said. “Sam has been working hard throughout the summer. He has a great chance to improve upon his impressive sophomore season. Beckham has demonstrated excellent leadership already in the young 2019 season.”

Sophomores Ross Halloran (21:28) and Nolan Sindelar (21:38) will provide the Lions with quality depth.

“Ross flashed impressive potential last year as a freshman. We look forward to his continued growth as a runner in 2019,” Genovese said. “Nolan improved impressively during his freshman season. We look forward to his continued growth as a team member.”

Sophomore Kate Halloran qualified for the regional meet last season and Genovese hopes to see her improve upon the 20:21 she ran last year.

“Kate was a regional qualifier in 2018 and a district place winner as well as a very successful swimmer,” Genovese said. “We look forward to her continued growth as a distance runner this season.”

Four seniors will team up with Halloran to provide the Lions with a formidable pack.

Olivia Tzefronis ran a best time of 23:07 last season while Anna-Lise Schoellkopf (24:21), Megan Gibas (25:44) and Kate Evans (26:03) also pushed the pace.

“Olivia improved impressively near the end of last season through her toughness and hard work ethic,” Genovese said. “Anna also improved her time nicely at the end of last season. She gained valuable experience which will help her in 2019. Megan has demonstrated excellent leadership so far this year, and we look forward to her continued growth as a runner. Kate is in a great position to improve her time even more this season with consistent hard work.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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