For Lerch And The Bobcat Harriers, It’s Back To The Future! (10/30/19)
(All Photos submitted) Above: Clarion Bobcats and Lady Cat Cross Country Teams, with coaches and parents after District Nine Meet
(By Coach Keith Murtha)
(Senior captain Nathaniel Lerch ran to a District IX Championship on Saturday (October 26th), in Ridgway in a time of 16:50. He is the seventh known Bobact to have done so in school history!
It all started with Coach Bob Bowersox and Ben Breniman the first District Nine champ in 1974. Clarion’s next Champ came in super hero Jack Morgan who completed the feat three years in a row, in 1977, 1978 and 1979, as well as finishing second at states in 1979. Current Clarion University Cross Country & Track Coach Eric Laughlin is next as a two-time D9 champ in 1986 and 1987 and also finished second at States in 1987 with blistering peersonal record of 15:20. In that Era, the Bobcats qualified three teams for States 1974, 1976 and 1986 for the boys and in between the girls got involved qualifying their first team in 1982, led by Roxanne Reinsel!
Put your jet pack on and fast forward to 2008, Megan Grove, daughter of long time Assistant Coach Bill Grove wins the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference (KSAC) Championship and finished fifth at Districts. Then in 2014, Penn State recruit Liam Raeshler won the first boys championship since Laughlin in 1987. Raeshler went on to run 17:01 at States finishing ninth and being recognized as All-State.
There’s just something about coaches’ kids. Ten years after Grove’s Championship, Evelyn Lerch, daughter of current assistant coach, Tammy Lerch wins a D9 title as a freshman and becomes the first female All-State Runner, after finishing thirteenth.
Not to be outdone by his sister, Nathaniel Lerch won a title of his own this year!
Lacing up their Nike Air Zoom’s, to harness energy from the teams of the 1970’s and 80’s the Bobcats have qualified three teams for States in three years. The boys started in 2017, edging Smethport out by a mere one point. They finished twelfth at the State Meet, a school record.
Last year, was the girls’ turn as they grabbed a piece of the KSAC title, were D9 runners-up and finished Fourteenth at States.
So this year team has big expectations and dreams, as they toe up to the line this Saturday (November 2nd) in Hershey, at 11:45 AM.
Thanks to Coach Murtha for this article and to Clarion Cross Country for the photos. HAVE A GREAT STATE MEET CATS!!!! YOU ARE NOW PART OF A GREAT LEGAGY!!!!)