OBETZ — Tippecanoe’s Landon Kimmel and Covington’s Asher Long earned All-Ohio honors at the state cross country meet at Fortress Obetz Saturday and Piqua’s Noah Burgh finished the season strong.
Kimmel finished an amazing freshman season with a 25th -place finish in 16:01.1.
“Landon had a tremendous year,” Tippecanoe coach Byron Kimmel said. “It is difficult for freshmen to run well all year and deep into the postseason. Saturday was a little disappointing for him as he was hoping for at least top 20 but more towards the top 10.
“Honestly, I think he was physically and emotionally worn out from the long season and it showed a little bit at the state meet. He had beaten several of the runners that finished in the top 10 during the season. At the state meet, you never know what will happen.”
Kimmel’s competiveness it what drives him to be the best — and left him a little disappointed.
“I tell people, Landon has the competitive nature of a Michael Jordan and he’s fearless when it comes to running,” Byron Kimmel said. “He wants to go all-out all the time. I think the number of races and the effort level he puts in during those races was too much to maintain through regionals and state.”
His freshman season was a learning experience.
“I need to do a better job of being more selective in the amount of races he runs,” Byron Kimmel said. “You often forget he is a freshman as he’s run at such a high level all year. We have had some outstanding runners in our program including state champion and Nike national champion Sam Wharton (2012). Sam had two all-ohio runners (Kevin Fink and Tyler Feitshans) to develop behind when he was a freshman. Landon did not have that luxury-as we needed him to lead from the front all year.
“That is quite a bit for a freshman to endure. Needless to say, he did it on a level few have at his age. He brought considerable excitement to the sport in our area and even across the state. Freshmen aren’t supposed to run at that level. He had runners from other schools asking to take pictures with him.”
And Kimmel remains humble.
“His mother and I are making sure he stays humble,” Byron Kimmel said. “The day after state he raked leaves for the elderly with his youth group at our church.”
Burgh, a sophomore, finished 66th in 16:34.4 in his first trip to state.
“I am really proud of Noah,” Piqua cross country coach Ryan King said. “He really had a great postseason. District, regionals and the state meet were run well and he finished his season very well. I am looking forward to his progress for track and next season.
“Our young team should really continue to grow this next 12 months.”
Long, a junior, finished 18th 16:26.3 in his second trip to the state meet.
“Asher was really pleased with how he ran on Saturday,” Josh Long said.
He reached his goal of repeating as an All-Ohio runner.
“I am thankful that I was able to make the All Ohio Team again and that I was able to make the podium this year.” Long said. “I look forward to working hard this summer and trying to make it back there next year. It was another great experience for me and my teammates that made the trip with me.”
And all three will have a chance for a repeat performance or better next season.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]