October typically is the month when cross country runners either rise to the challenge of the most competitive meets or fade away into the offseason.
Kirtland freshman Julie Namciu obviously is gearing up for the postseason run as she set a new personal record of 21:42 to lead the Hornets at the Legends Meet at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
“Julie has been steadily improving all season and is really starting to race smart,” said Kirtland coach JP Moran. “She has improved almost a minute since meet one.”
Namciu beat teammates Sydney Snyder and Lauren Snyder by 21 and 24 seconds, respectively.
Sydney Snyder finished in 22:03 while Lauren Snyder came in at 22:06.
“All along the goal was for her to run with Lauren and Sydney and she had a nice breakthrough this weekend,” Moran said. “Having all top three running very competitive times in October is exactly what we trained for all season. Now we just need our top seven to all put one together at the same time and see what we can do at conference and districts.”
Freshman Aimee Baldrey also turned in a strong performance with a time of 23:36.
Mateja Mrva (23:41), Ellie David (23:57), Emily Crebs (24:09) and Holly Samf (24:35) also ran for the Hornets, who finished 22nd overall.
Konnor Duncan continued to set the pace for the boys’ team as he finished with a time of 18:32.
Jake Gradadolnik (18:41), Colton Zanko (19:44), Nick Briggs (20:04), Ian McGreal (20:21), Andrew Schneider (21:29) and Jonny Jackson (21:52) also competed for Kirtland.
The Hornets travel to Kent State’s Geauga Campus on Saturday for the 2017 Chagrin Valley Conference meet.