Jeremy Anderson Invitational slated for Saturday at Fort Frye
BEVERLY — At 10 a.m. Saturday, Fort Frye will host the 2nd annual Jeremy Anderson Invitational.
Formerly the Fort Frye Invitational, the Cadets changed the name last year to honor former running standout Jeremy Anderson, who passed away suddenly last August.
“He was an extraordinary kid,” said Fort Frye cross country coach Jason Lipot. “I used to run with him a lot. He was going to coach the program eventually.”
Lipot credits Anderson for reviving the Cadets cross country program.
“He truly is the reason why these kids run cross country at Fort Frye,” he said. “The program started back up because of him. We’re excited to honor him again Saturday. There’s a lot of new teams coming in who probably don’t know about him.”
The high school boys race starts at 10 a.m. with the girls following at 10:40. The junior high boys race is scheduled for 11:20 with the junior girls following at 11:50.
The starting line will be between the Fort Frye baseball and football fields behind the school, and the race will end at track finish line.
Lipot said the race is growing and will have a good turnout. Among the local teams competing will be Fort Frye, Marietta, Warren, Waterford, Belpre, Caldwell, Shenandoah and Morgan.
“There’s definitely going to be some stiff competition,” Lipot said. “There’s going to be All-Ohio runners and some state qualifying teams. Definitely some fast kids are going to be here.”
The host Cadets will be looking to bounce back at their home meet.
“We went to the Broughton (Invitational) and finished last as a team,” Lipot said. “That was kind of a wakeup call. The kids really have been training hard. Our expectation is just to get better and improve every race.”
The Cadets, which have no girls runners at the high school level, have seven freshmen on their boys team.
“We’re very young and inexperienced,” Lipot said, “but we’re getting better.
“Let me put it this way — out of all 19 of our runners, only one has a driver’s license. That’s how young we are.”
Phin Spindler, one of the team’s ninth-graders, is the team’s top runner. Also on the high school roster are juniors Draven Rowland and Joe Duskey and freshmen Alex Henke, Wyatt Fulton, Brayden Becker, Nathan Powell, Kail Bauerbach and Kenton Pierce.
“It’s going to be a well run event,” Lipot said. “It will be chip timed with a camera, that way our workers don’t have to worry about pulling tags. That’s real helpful.
“My wife, Amista, is the meet manager. She coordinates with (Fort Frye athletic director) Barb Sleek and does an outstanding job for us. She does a lot of behind the scenes work. The administration has been very supportive to help us be able to pull this off.”
As far as the race itself, “the course is pretty flat and fast. There’s one decent little hill, but we’re thinking someone will break the school record. The boys is 16:24 by Justin Anderson and Mary Kate McElroy has the girls, I think 19:43.”
Jordan Holland can be reached at email@example.com.