Sarah Biehl may be the lady harrier to beat in the 23nd Annual Scenic Hills Lions Classic Cross Country Invitational at Warren High School Saturday.
The Fort Frye sophomore is coming off an impressive first-place time of 21 minutes, 01.4 seconds at the Aug. 29 Elizabeth S. Broughton Cross Country Invitational at the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area.
It was Biehl's debut as a cross country runner.
"She's got a lot of guts," said Cadets coach Alana Combs. "This is the first time she's ever even run on a cross country course.
"She's a very nice girl, good student, and athlete. She did a nice job in track, and decided to give cross country a try. So, I'm very happy that she did that."
When Biehl crossed the Broughton finish line, she was all alone. No other harrier was even close to her.
"It (course) was a challenge, because I didn't know where to go," said Biehl, who averaged 6:46 per mile. "But after I got through it, it was pretty easy. It was fun.
"I started going out fast to get the lead, and then I tried to get a little gap between everybody else, so I wouldn't feel the pressure as much all through the race."
Look for a similar strategy at the Warren 5K race.
Karly Jones of Barnesville was a distant second at Broughton in 21:35.7. Halle Richards of Warren - who was runner-up in last year's Scenic Hills Lions Classic event - was 13th overall in 21.44.
The next Fort Frye harrier to finish was Katelyn Tornes, who was 26th in a clocking of 24:28.3. Rounding out the Cadet squad were Jessica Anderson, Victoria Mimken, Alyssa Cheeseman, Natasha Norris, and Maradeth Bidwell.
"They're a close-knit team," Combs said. "They run together all the time. They did a real nice job of supporting each other. We've got a good girls group."
With this being the first year of a Fort Frye girls' cross country team, it did not run Broughton cold even though it was not familiar with the course.
"We did a lot of preparation, lots and lots of miles all through the summer," Combs said."And, we worked on the hills a lot."
It remains to be seen what Biehl does for an encore after winning Broughton, and how she'll fare during the rest of the fall sports season. One thing for certain, though, she should be in great shape when she reports to Dan Liedtke and the Cadet girls' basketball team in November.
"I'm busy all year round," said Biehl, smiling.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at email@example.com