TROY — All of the runners for the five Miami Valley League teams competing in Monday’s Lost Creek Invitational felt the same way.
“Nolan Campbell from Piqua tweeted yesterday, ‘I’ve never been more excited to toe the line again.’ And I felt that,” Troy senior Josh Lovitt said. “It feels awesome. There’s nothing compared to this.”
And in the end, Lovitt claimed an individual Lost Creek Invitational 3K victory in the boys race to help the Trojans celebrate their Senior Night, while the Tippecanoe Red Devils pulled off a sweep in the team standings.
Lovitt, the Troy boys lone senior, won the boys race in 9:54.7.
“It feels great,” Lovitt said. “I haven’t raced since indoor season in February. This one is special. Nolan had perfect pacing throughout the first half. Unfortunately, he dropped off, but perfect pacing. It was a great race.”
Lovitt had to hold off Tippecanoe’s Gannon Owen in the final 100 meters — even peering over his shoulder to check the situation — with Owen finishing second in 9:55.3. Piqua’s Campbell was third in 9:59.4, the only three sub-10-minute times.
“I was hurting coming into that last stretch, and I didn’t know who was behind me,” Lovitt said of the sneak peek behind him. “Luckily, I spaced it out enough to get the win. I’m just happy to be out here with my teammates and my competitors again.”
“He should be really pleased with himself,” Troy boys coach Phil Matthews said of Lovitt. “He’s put in a lot of work over the summer. I know it’s early in the season, but as long as he can stay healthy, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
In the end, though, Tippecanoe claimed the team win with 30 points. After Owen, Allan Murray was fourth (10:05), Ben Prenger was seventh (10:28.5), Trenton Brown was eighth (10:28.6) and Dylan Taylor was ninth (10:34.7).
Piqua was second with 59 points, led by Campbell. Paul Hinds was fifth (10:13.9), Jesse Furman was 12th (10:49.2), Caven Wiles was 17th (11:06) and Simon Baker was 29th (11:40.6).
Troy was third with 64 points. After Lovitt, Will Schaefer was sixth (10:15.6), Gavin Hutchinson was 19th (11:13.1), Kyle McCord was 20th (11:15.3) and Luke Plaisier was 21st (11:15.4).
In the girls race, Tippecanoe won with 38 points, while Troy was second with 43.
For the Red Devils, Annie Sinning was second (12:00.7), Shelby Hept was third (12:07.4), Isa Ramos was eighth (13:15.8), Emma Conley was 11th (13:30.4) and Gracie Ganger was 14th (13:47).
“This is a tough course, and it’s a good measuring stick to see where we’re at,” Tippecanoe coach Byron Kimmel said of his teams’ performances. “One of the things that’s hurt us is we’re only allowed to train at Kyle Park because of our protocols, and it’s flat as a pancake. You could tell that the hills crushed some of our kids today, so you can tell we’re in desperate need of some hill training at this point.”
For the Trojans, Emma Kennett was fifth (12:30.3), Millie Peltier was sixth (12:58.4), Renee Kovacs was seventh (13:08.6), Emma Marlow was 10th (13:27.8) and Ashley Kyle was 15th (13:49.6).
“First race of the year. We haven’t done a lot of sustained work, and I could tell by the girls’ faces that it was a shock to the system,” Troy girls coach Kevin Alexander said. “And that’s okay. It’s plenty early. We have plenty of time. It won’t take long. They’ve put in the work. They just have to get used to the race environment.”
Piqua was fourth with 94 points, led by Cassie Schrubb in fourth (12:22.3). Libby Bradney was 21st (14:03.9), Jana Wagner was 22nd (14:11.5), Isabella Murray was 43rd (15:26.8) and Gracie Clark was 45th (15:31.6).
MONROE — Milton-Union’s girls own Monroe’s Alex Fultz Invitational Monday, while the Bulldog boys finished fourth.
The girls won with 30 points. Sophie Meredith was third (23:54.6), Maddie Stasiak was fourth (24:31.1), Micah Tracy was fifth (24:59.9), Ty Parsons was sixth (25:28.4) and Kelsie Tomlinson was 13th (28:09.8).
The boys were fourth with 76 points. Eric Trittschuh was third (18:51.7), Chris Miller was fifth (19:21.9), Kyle Bostick was 25th (23:03.6), Mckinah Rupp was 30th (23:25.5) and Collin Thomas was 37th (24:43.3).