The Press Newspaper
With their performances at the Division II and III regional cross country meets, Eastwood's Maddie Jackson and Genoa's Carly Gose earned trips to the state meet in Columbus.
For Jackson, a junior, it's been a gradual process that has seen her steadily improve as a runner in each of her three years with the Eagles. Jackson, who also runs track in the spring, finished 68th at the regional meet in 2010, 26th last year and 10th in 19:52 this time around, good enough to qualify for state. Qualifying for the state meet requires a top-16 finish at the regional meet.
As for Gose, a freshman, she has stormed onto the scene after she finished first at the NBC Junior High Meet in both her seventh and eighth grade years. At this year's D-III regional meet in Tiffin, Gose finished 13th in 20:17, finishing well ahead of the mark necessary for a spot in Columbus.
For much of the year, Jackson and Gose have been competing against one another at weekend invitational meets with Jackson getting the upper hand thus far, but Gose has three years remaining in her prep career.
At the Northern Buckeye Conference Meet on Oct. 13, Jackson finished first out of 54 runners with a time of 19:39. Gose, meanwhile, was just behind her, finishing third in 19:59. In fact, it was Jackson's second straight year in which she finished in the top spot.
Jackson's first-place finish helped pace Eastwood to its second consecutive NBC title. Freshman Lexi Clark was fourth (20:57), sophomore Meagan Kaminski finished fifth (21:00) and juniors McKayla Phillips and Casey Twining were 13th (21:34) and 24th (22:34), respectively.
The Eagles also performed well in the postseason, finished third at districts to advance to the regional meet, where they were 11th. As for Jackson, she was fifth at the district meet and 10th at regionals.
It's an incredible accomplishment to qualify for state in any sport, but it's that much more impressive for Gose when you consider that she is a freshman.
Gose, who also plays basketball, softball, and runs track, comes from an athletic family. Her father, Michael, who works as a physical therapist in the area, previously played football, basketball and baseball for Genoa and has had a profound influence on Carly and her older brother Casey. Casey, a junior, has been a contributing member of the football team for the past two seasons and is the starting wide receiver.
Gose's success in cross country stems from her year-round commitment to running.
“I run every single day during the offseason,” Carly said. “I find a place to run inside during the winter. (During the season), we do speed workouts, distance workouts, middle-distance workouts and field training.”
Gose's Comets, which started the year with nine runners, was one runner short of fielding a full team at the meet because of a number of costly injuries and bad luck. But the future looks bright.
“We have a really nice team coming along,” said Genoa cross country coach Brian Tucker. “We lost our No. 2 girl, a senior, another girl stepped in a hole (and hurt her ankle) and another girl got injured. We had nine girls (at the beginning of the year) and we had four girls at the conference meet.”
Tucker is hoping that Gose can coax more girls into coming out for the team in the coming years.
“I think, if we would've been full strength, we would've qualified for regionals,” Gose said. “I've just told some girls, 'Go to practice, see if you like it, try it. If you don't like it, you don't have to do it.' It's a lot different than people say it is.”
“She's a great recruiter,” Tucker said. “She's friendly and has gotten a few girls out.”
Right now, though, Tucker is just focused on helping Gose finish the season strong.
“She hasn't really had a bad race. She's been consistently bringing down (her times). She's about 15 seconds from the school record. I anticipated that she would be our No. 1. I never try to put too much pressure on freshman,” said Tucker. “(Carly) isn't fearless, but she's not really intimidated by much of anything. She's a really good kid, she's funny, she's not real serious, but she gets serious when she needs to be.”
Tucker sees things only getting better for Gose in the future.
“I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect her to be at the state meet for several years. She has a real chance to be an All-Ohio runner in her first year and we're excited about that,” Tucker said.
Tucker would know a thing or two about great runners, considering that he coached a Bowling Green High School team to three consecutive Division I state titles in 2003, '04 & '05 and finished second in '06.
“(Carly) is a very gifted athlete in a lot of different arenas. She's a good student, too. We feel fortunate that we have her, she's a really good kid,” Tucker said.