A running pipeline appears to exist from Washington County to Portsmouth.
Next fall, Fort Frye's Matthew Cheeseman will be joining several local runners either already at or planning to attend Shawnee State University.
Recently, the 17-year-old Cadet senior signed with the Eric Putnam-coached Bears to continue his education and compete on the cross country course and oval circle at the Portsmouth-based school, which is Division I, NAIA.
Fort Frye senior Matthew Cheeseman will be competing at Shawnee State University. Pictured sitting in the front row, left to right, are Cathy Cheesmen (mother), Matthew Cheeseman, Darren Cheeseman (father) and Fort Frye cross country coach Alana Cunningham. In the back row standing, left to right, are Jeremy Anderson (Shawnee runner), Alyssa Cheeseman (sister), Sarah Biehl (Shawnee runner), Matthew’s grandfather, and Shawnee coach Eric Putnam.
"Shawnee State has a great running program," said Cheeseman, who is planning to major in accounting.
"I think it's the right college for me."
Cheeseman will be reunited with former Cadets' Sarah Biehl (sophomore) and Jeremy Anderson (senior), who will have one more year of track and field eligibility.
Also on the SSU men's and women's team rosters last fall were Belpre's Breydon Gates (junior) and Warren's Halle Richards (sophomore).
Warren all-state Parker Blain was a recent signee to the Bears XC program.
So, Cheeseman will definitely be familiar with some of the faces on the campus.
"I'm really looking forward to that," he said. "Portsmouth is only about two hours away from home (Lowell), too."
According to Fort Frye cross country coach Alana Cunningham, Cheeseman "was an integral part of our state qualifying team this past season."
"He also placed well enough at regionals to qualify individually for the state meet," she said. "He received several awards from the OVAC and at the district and regional level."
A model of consistency on the race course, Cheeseman ran the 5k distance (3.1 miles) in the 16- to 17-minute range.
At the OHSAA State Cross Country Championships at National Trail Raceway in Hebron on Nov. 2, 2013, he covered the course in 16 minutes, 58.98 seconds, which was second on the team (to all-stater Jon Anderson) and good for a 38th overall finish.
As a team, the Cadet boys placed eighth with 182 points in a field of 16 schools in Division III.
Cheeseman ran times of 17:04.13 at regional at Pickerington North; 16:44 at district in Cambridge; 16:47.24 in the Pioneer Valley Conference (PVC) meet in Cambridge (also the ECOL/IVC Championships); and 16:33 (a PR) in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) 3A event in Byesville.
The Fort Frye boys were runners-up in both Region 11 and the East District Championship, and first placers in the PVC and Cal Pokas OVAC 3A Division championship.
In track and field, Cheeseman runs the mile, two mile, and 4x800 relay.
During the winter, at basketball games, Cheeseman is the school's student section leader, and provides guidance to his classmates on the "roller coaster."
"That's a lot of fun," Cheeseman said. "We do mostly the boys games, but when the girls get (to the postseason), we're there for them, too."
Cheeseman is the son of Darren and Cathy Cheeseman of Lowell. He has one older sister, Alyssa.