Cross Country: Ewert leads sixth-ranked 'Creek into GWOC meet

Beavercreek senior Connor Ewert is the favorite in Saturday's Greater Western Ohio Conference meet at Northmont. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

BEAVERCREEK – Connor Ewert is the runner to beat at the Greater Western Ohio Conference championship on Saturday. So far this season nobody has.

Even though the Beavercreek High School senior crossed the line first in a half-dozen meets this season, there was still one runner Ewert couldn’t quite catch – his older brother Ben.

“My brother is someone I’ve always looked forward to trying to beat (time-wise),” Connor Ewert said. “He’s always dusted me since I was a little kid. He works harder than anyone I know.”

Ben’s high school personal record of 15:35 set in 2015 seemed out of reach to Connor. But when that dust settled at the Centerville Night Lights on Sept. 26, it revealed Connor’s time of 15:34.6. That placed Connor third on Beavercreek’s all-time list behind Randy West (15:19 in 1986) and Mike Watson (15:33 in 1984). It also bumped Ben to fourth.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be close to his PR because to me 15:35 was a barrier that was pretty steep,” said Ewert, who entered his senior season with a PR of 15:54. “Dropping that much time definitely surprised me. … Yeah, I definitely called him to let him know.”

“He’s a very intelligent runner,” said Beavercreek boys coach James Weckesser. “He knows the workouts, the courses, knows other runners. He just knows a lot more than anyone else because he’s been around the sport forever. He sees things more like a coach than a runner.”

Ewert’s introduction to running came when he was about 6years old. His parents, Brian and Teri, both ran cross country and track at Syracuse University. Ben, a senior competing at the University of Louisville, was a four-time cross country state qualifier for Beavercreek and a steeplechase standout in track. Taylor, already excelling as a freshman at the University of Arkansas, won D-I individual and team state titles with the Beavers in 2018-19 and holds the girls' record of 16:57. She’s also an Olympic-caliber racewalker.

“It probably took a year (to start liking it),” Ewert said. "I remember the first time I went on a track I was like, ‘This sucks.’ But then I learned it really wasn’t that bad and it could get your mind off of things and help with stress. It’s something I really enjoy doing now.

“My parents, they really know what they’re doing. They really try to keep the pressure off me and that’s really helped me a lot. I definitely feel a little bit of pressure, especially now that I’m leading these races. It’s nothing I’m not used to.”

Ewert looks forward to the challenge of not leading the race in the coming weeks. Beavercreek and the rest of the conference have competed against GWOC-only teams during the regular season to limit exposure to COVID-19. The top runners at the district meet on Oct. 24 include Bellbrook senior Takumi Ford and his PR of 15:36.7. At the regional meet a week later Ewert and the Beavers will see top-ranked Cincinnati St. Xavier and Nathan Mountain, who recently set the St. X school record in 14:46.9.

First comes the GWOC for Beavercreek, ranked No. 6 in Division I of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches' poll. The Beavers won the GWOC title last season and are contenders again at Northmont High School. In addition to Ewert, junior Keegan Souhan has the GWOC’s second-fastest time this season in 16:03 and is followed by senior Ryan Massie (No. 4 in 16:14) and senior Isaac Leighninger (No. 10 in 16:42).

Beavercreek finished 10th at the D-I state championship last season.

“I’m really excited to see where our team can do,” Ewert said. “Usually when you think of Beavercreek you think of the girls. … Some of that attention has shifted to the boys because we could be really good.”

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