Seniors reflect on careers at cross country county invite

| September 4, 2020
River View High School cross country seniors celebrated their years of running for the Black Bears with a senior night on Sept. 1 at their home county invite.
RVHS seniors and brothers Brayden and Brice Cross have both run cross country all throughout high school.
“I like being able to help the team out and see myself improve,” Brayden Cross said.
Brice Cross said he enjoys the team aspect of cross country. “We’re all a big family,” he said. “We spend most of the summer together and during the season hang out.”
Other seniors on River View’s boys team include Nathaniel Stamper, Connor Stevens-Woolery and Lincoln Titus.
Stamper has had quite a successful career, going to state more than once, but he said it’s the team aspect of the sport that means the most to him.
“We are a family,” Stamper said. “We are there for each other in thick and thin.”
Stevens-Woolery started running cross country as a sophomore. “At first I was just doing it for fun, but then I realized I was good at the sport. It’s exhilarating to be out there. You always want to better yourself,” he said.
Titus’ favorite part of cross country races is the end. “You can run faster then,” he said.
Titus has run all four years of high school and said he enjoys hanging out with the team. His advice to his younger teammates would be to stick with it.
“It sucks at first, but it gets better,” Titus said.
River View’s girls team has three seniors: Ashlyn Seiler, Courtney Sampsel and Dilyn Tumblin.
“My older sister ran, and that got me into this,” Seiler said. “We are like a big family. The races are so much. It’s an adrenaline rush when you pass people.”
Sampsel agreed with Seiler about the family aspect of the sport. “I like being with everyone and seeing how much I can improve each year,” she said.
Tumblin picked up the sport as a sophomore. “My brother was doing it, and my mom wanted all of us to run,” she said. “It’s a family thing, but our team is also close to each other.”
River View head coach Gwenna Neal has coached many of these athletes since they were in elementary school in her Distance Cub program.
“They are a very special group of young people,” Neal said. “They are disciplined and motivated to constantly find new limits for themselves. I am confident they will take all that they’ve learned and continue this excellence as they move forward in their lives. I expect to see great things from them just as you are about to see great things from them this season. They understand and embrace all that cross country teaches and will take it with them wherever they go.”
The annual county invite included the opportunity to run against athletes from county rival Ridgewood High School, Newcomerstown and East Knox. It was the last trip to the event for Ridgewood seniors Jianna Jonard, Tristan Salmon, Kanon Kimble and Casey Croy.
“We are a big family, and this is great to be part of,” Jonard said.
Jonard started cross country as a sophomore after her dad suggested the sport to her. “My dad used to run in high school,” she said. “I liked running, so he thought I should try it. It’s what I like to do. It’s my niche.”
Salmon ran in high school, middle school and even before that. “I just like being with the team,” he said. “The IVC meet is my favorite. I run well there every year.”
Kimble got talked into running after being at one of his sister’s meets. “It turned out to be a good time, and the people are fun to be around,” he said. “When you get into the zone, it feels really good out there. You just have to push through the pain all the way to the end.”
Croy’s favorite part of cross country is being with his friends, but he said the sport also has taught him to work hard.

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I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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