WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty-Salem is back at the Division III state cross country meet again this season, with a pair of individuals representing the Tigers at Saturday’s races.
Sophomore Reghan Bieleski will be making her second trip to the final meet of the season, having finished 36th last year after losing a shoe two-thirds of the way into the race.
This season, Bieleski has been intermittently ill and has also been battling a hip flexor strain.
“She has shown a lot of grit and character fighting her way back to qualify for the state meet. When a lot of athletes would have thrown in the towel, Reghan remained focused and poised,” WL-S Coach Ann Vogel said. “She trusted in her training and did not lose sight of her goals. I believe these setbacks have made her a stronger runner mentally.”
Bieleski, the back-to-back Ohio Heritage Conference champion, has a season personal best time of 19:54.
“Her state meet experience will definitely be to her advantage this year. She knows what to expect and nerves should be less of a factor. I expect her to follow her race plan and give another gutsy performance,” Vogel said.
Bieleski will run on Saturday at 11 a.m. at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
On the boys’ side, Tiger senior Joey Adams is making his fourth appearance at the state meet. As a team member in 2012, Adams finished 106th. As a team member in 2013, he was 61st. In 2014 as an individual, he was 31st, running the race in 16:48.
Adams’ fastest time of the season was a 15:52 at the Anna Invitational – the second-fastest time in school history. He also ran a 16:08 last week at the regional meet.
“Joey has high expectations this weekend and is hoping to be in contention for an individual state title, but the thing that Joey wants the most is to run his race to glorify God,” WL-S Coach Mike Louden said. “Joey is a true example of what all student athlete’s should strive to be.”
Adams also earned his third Academic All-Ohio award, which requires a 3.5 GPA and an appearance at the state meet. Freshmen are not eligible for the award.
“Joey represents our program in so many positive ways, but the thing that Joey does the best his ability to put the team first and foremost. He has been selfless and loyal to every one of his teammates and that in itself has led to our program continuing its historic success. He is true class act in and out of the classroom and I can truly say that I’ve been blessed to have coached one of the greatest runners our program has had in its 44 years of existence,” Louden said.
Adams will run on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at National Trail Raceway.