Home > Bethel-Tate, Felicity-Franklin runners race to finish | USA Today High School Sports

Bethel-Tate, Felicity-Franklin runners race to finish | USA Today High School Sports

Bethel-Tate’s boys cross country team took the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division title at Goshen Oct. 17.

Bethel-Tate’s boys cross country team took the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division title at Goshen Oct. 17.

BETHEL – They didn’t have a long time to celebrate, but the Bethel-Tate High School boys cross country team won the Southern Buckeye Conference-National Division championship Oct. 17 at Goshen.

Jackson Coates brought home the individual championship, outdueling Felicity-Franklin’s Jared Boeckmann down the stretch to win 16:54.33 to 16:54.81, by less than a half-second. Both runners would have won the SBAAC-American race among the bigger schools handily.

Other Tigers in the top 25 were Justin Royer in seventh at 18:18.97, Zane Royer 10th in 18:37.67, Noah Rees 11th in 18:38.30, Evan Iding 19th in 19:41.25, Matt Hall 22nd in 19:44.30 and Jacob Reinhart 24th in 19:51.92.

After the bus ride home, it was back to business as Coach Pam Taylor hoped to keep advancing the Tigers. Even in routine laps around the school property, she coaxes her runners to get the best of themselves.

Coates doesn’t need much coaxing.

“He’s won almost all of the races,” Taylor said. “He’s such a good kid. He wants to be No. 1. He’s got the determination and he wants to go to State.”

The sophomore missed a recent practice with an orthodontist appointment, but Taylor was sure he would still get his work in. Over the summer, the team was able to pick between conditioning on two nights or two mornings. Coates chose both.

He was first discovered as a junior high phenom from Taylor’s teaching time down the road at the middle school.

“I knew he was good at running a mile because I had him in phys ed class,” Taylor said. “He has it inside of himself that he wants to do it. That’s the key. He just loves to run and push himself.”

In the Division II district, Race 1 at Voice of American Park Oct. 24, the sophomore finished second in 16:52.7 to advance to the regional meet in Troy.

Over the years, Taylor has plucked runners like Coates from gym class, the hallway or to help in conditioning for other sports. If you have a pair of shoes, you’re good to go.

“I’ll take anyone that wants to run,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t matter how fast or slow they are. It’s something they can do life long.”

Partly as a result of her efforts, Bethel-Tate has its biggest team ever. She promotes team bonding and takes the group on an overnight trip each season. In previous years, they have gone to run at Rio Grande College. This past year, it was a meet at Sandusky, near Cedar Point.

The appeal of multiple roller coasters apparently paid off as she’s now considering a two-night affair in the vicinity of the amusement park.

“They’re a pretty tight group of kids,” Taylor said. “They might not always love running, but they love being part of the group.”

Taylor is approachable and rarely misses school events. If not coaching, she can be found watching a basketball game, working concessions or selling tickets at the entrance to the stadium.

“I try to act like a school Mom to them,” Taylor said. “Not every kid is out here because they love running. Some are getting into condition for other sports. Some just want to be part of the group. As long as they show improvement from the beginning to the end, that’s exciting to me.”

The Bethel-Tate girls were represented at the SBAAC meet with a few top 25 finishes. Lucia Lopez took 14th in 21:47.46, Allison Parks was 16th in 21:50.72 and Morgan Reinhart was 17th in 22:11.10. Just behind were Breanna Keyser in 23rd at 22:51.50 and Taylor Fischer in 23:12.48.

In the Division II district meet, Lopez was 22nd at 22:07.1 and Reinhart was 26th at 22:36.8.

Lopez is a foreign exchange student from Spain who just joined the team for this season.

“I didn’t know until August,” Taylor said of Lopez. “I have another foreign exchange student from Bethlehem who didn’t get here until after school started. They’re fun kids.”

The top finisher for Felicity-Franklin’s girls at the league meet was Kaitlin Sharp in 22nd at 22:43.47. The sophomore took 12th in the district meet at Voice of America Park Oct. 24 in 22:27.6 to move to the regional gathering.

The Cardinals boys team took third in the SBAAC-National behind Bethel-Tate and Georgetown, with Jared Boeckmann leading the pack. Behind Boeckmann in third was Bradley Elkins at 17:42.99. Aiden Binion was 14th at 18:53.35 and Austin Rutherford was 16th at 19:20.45.

At the Division III district meet, sophomore Boeckmann finished third in 17:01.2 to move to the regional meet in Troy. The Cardinals finished seventh as a team.

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