Jacquelyn Crow knows a bit about recruiting.
As a top 10 placer at the Division I state cross country meet last year, the Lebanon runner has drawn interest from colleges. But she found herself as the recruiter and not the recruitee when preseason practice began.
Lebanon had graduated the bulk of its runners who finished fourth in the Greater Western Ohio Conference last year. When Lebanon coach Tom Hoeffel gathered the Warriors for training he had a surprise.
“We had 35 guys show up and four girls,” Hoeffel said. “Since then, she has been one of the main recruiters putting together our team.”
Crow began calling friends from the track team. She managed to help convince a basketball player to run.
“We have a lot of new additions and a lot of new energy,” Crow said. “It should be a good season. We called a few who ran track with us and they seemed interested and came out. They are still practicing so that’s good.”
Hoeffel said: “We now have a varsity and half of a junior varsity. We owe a lot to her because of that. She always puts the team before herself.”
With a team put together, Crow can now focus on improving on an eighth-place finish at state last year. She covered the 5K (3.1 miles) distance in 18:23.77 and finished two spots ahead of teammate Hayley Stegemiller, who graduated last year.
Crow has a goal of improving on that placing and setting new personal records in the event. Hoeffel said her personality is one of the reasons she has a chance.
“It’s attitude before everything else,” Hoeffel said.
“She’s one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. She will never talk about her times or her place at state. She obviously has a lot of talent, and when that hard work and talent come together, it’s a coach’s dream.”
Who to watch
• Sydney Leiher of Beavercreek was the highest finishing local runner at last year’s D-I state meet. She finished third with a time of 18:10.21. She is also the fastest returning state runner this year, with both of the girls who finished ahead of her in Columbus graduating. She ran a 18:03.27 at the GWOC meet last year.
• The Springboro girls team returns Rachel Mahle (19th at state) and Lycia Hollon (29th at state). The two finished second and third in the GWOC South meet last year and led the Panthers to the GWOC team title.
• Coldwater returns its top two runners from a team that finished second at state – junior Christina Seas (second at state) and sophomore Sarah Kanney (ninth at state).
Contact this writer at Orvel.Bethel@coxinc.com.