JV Striders’ trip to Florida points to big future

(Editor’s note: A story about this race appears on Page B2 of today’s edition.)

To the editor:

In August, we weren’t sure we had any hope of putting runners into USATF Nationals this season and really didn’t plan on it. Blessed by God, things exploded in September and with good kids, great parents and community support, we started a drive which carried through into December placing eight runners into Nationals. The “Cinderella Club” from the backwoods of Pennsylvania struck again. With eight kids we headed south to Tallahassee, Florida to test against the best.

We hoped to finally get some ideal weather to set personal records in Florida, but were warned two weeks out of possible hot conditions not good for distance running. How did the weather change? Several inches of rain and cold made us feel right at home a lot like Regionals. The kids were tough and just shrugged it off with everyone running either a PR or close to a PR.

Brayden Harris led the way with a sensational race in the 4K 13-14 boys race running a PR of 12:27 and taking second place to Erik Le Roux of California going All-American for the second time. Brayden’s 12:27 was a club record by 31 seconds and will be hard to top in the future. Also running in the 13-14 boys race was Noah Shepherd running a PR of 14:17.

Emily Houtz running in the girls 13-14 ran a PR and club record 16:12 another record which will be a challenge to top. Her younger brother, Quentin Houtz also ran a PR and club record 8:35 in the boys 7-8 age group along with Hoyt Rodenbaugh running 9:24. Addie Parson running in the girls 11-12 was denied a PR and club record when the entire race was sent the wrong way. Her splits were way below her record time but the race ended up long and the time of 13:03 did not count for the record. Evan Shepherd competed in the boys 9-10 race and ran 13:28 four seconds off his PR. Noah Bowers ran a PR 19:52 in the boys 15-18 race to finish our participation.

Special thanks to Jeff Miller, our associate coach, and everyone in the community who supported us this season. Brayden, with Chayce Macknair and Chase Sheaffer, should be really something to watch next fall and Emily Houtz as a freshman should be outstanding in the fall.

Ron Sprecher

Juniata Valley Striders