Buckeye Valley Girls Cross Country Team Preview

A few weeks ago, MileSplit Ohio contributor, Andrew McPherson caught up with Buckeye Valley head coach, Nate Ritz to discuss all matters pertaining to Ohio's 2020 XC season. 

Buckeye Valley checks-in at No. 15 in the latest Division 2 OATCCC team rankings release and they reside at No. 16 for D2 squads in MileSplit's team-score rankings

MileSplit Ohio: How did COVID impact your team's training as they prepared for the season?

Coach Ritz: 

Missing out on track season was obviously a huge let down. With that being said, our girls' are motivated and driven and they were able to keep fairly consistent on their own during the spring. We came into the summer conditioning in shape and motivated for the season ahead. As with every team this fall season, our meet schedule is totally different than any other year. Our first three meets were either a dual or a tri meet and we will only attend a handful of invitationals during the regular season. The schedule has its advantages and disadvantages but overall I think the flexibility with having some smaller races is going to help us as we get into the postseason.

MileSplit Ohio: What are your teams goals as the season progresses?

Coach Ritz: 

We have a core group of seniors that have run together since middle school and I am excited to see what they can do this postseason. Goal #1 is to stay healthy and come into the postseason strong and then the individual and team goals will fall into place.

MileSplit Ohio: Knowing that all meets are exiting, but are there any ones, in particular, that are highlighted on your calendar? 

Coach Ritz:

As mentioned, this season's schedule allows some flexibility and we are using that to our advantage by resting certain girls at different meets. This will hopefully help achieve our #1 goal (to be ready & healthy for the postseason). We may not run our full varsity squad at too many regular season meets this season but one meet we are excited about and plan to run the full squad together will be the Dublin Jerome

Celtic Clash on September 26th. Unfortunately we'll miss the night experience this year but it looks like it will be a good field. Other invitationals we are looking forward to attending include the Central Ohio Invitational (9/19), North Union Invitational (10/3) and the Darby Dash (10/6). 

MileSplit Ohio: Your girls team is currently ranked top 15 in the state, do you believe they will be able to compete for a state title come November?

Coach Ritz: 

We are hoping to make our 4th trip in a row to the state meet. Chloe Dawson, Bailey Kreft, Ashley Beatty, Madelyn Zindars & Jia Radloff have all had three years experience running at National Trails Raceway and they are motivated to get back to the state meet at The Fortress this year.

MileSplit Ohio: What makes this program unique from others in the state?

Coach Ritz: 

This group has seen a lot of success throughout their career, but the adversity and determination they have shown to achieve these goals is what makes this group standout. I'm proud of how they have handled setbacks and adversity and use it to come back stronger. Many of them have dealt with various obstacles along their way and the way they deal with adversity is something that I am very proud of. Our coaches (Coach Miller, Coach Diller and Coach Wagner), runners and families have all worked so well together to help the teams reach their full potential and it is exciting to be a part of this group.