By Chris Chaney
Heading into every meet, New Richmond girls’ track and field head coach Terri Flamm knows that her team is the one to beat.
Coming off of a Southern Buckeye Conference title in 2012 and a team that returns nine All-Conference selections, Flamm has set her sights higher than ever before.
“Obviously, we’re looking to win our league, that’s the first goal throughout the season,” Flamm said of her expectations in 2013. “I think we have a really solid chance of winning districts, so that’s a pretty hefty goal with the teams that we compete against, like McNick, Indian Hill and Wyoming.”
Of those nine returning All-Stars, no one shines brighter than defending Runner of the Year, Olivia Behymer. Only a junior this season, Behymer has the talent and drive to make a run at the state title in a few events.
“She is stronger than she’s ever been this year,” Flamm said. “She’s coming into the year better than she has been either of the last two years.
“We ran our first meet here at our place and she broke two school records. One event (the 100-meter dash), she hasn’t run before. She’s refocusing her events from where she was a mid-distance/distance runner and now she’s a sprinter. I look for her to be really strong in the 100, 200 and 400 and she’ll run the 4×400 (relay).”
Flamm’s embarrassment of talent could allow her to name each person on the roster, she says, but asked to pick a few she notes that Sarah Glenn would be a solid senior leader.
Flamm said that Glenn will run the open 800 and has already showed some form that bodes well for the rest of the season.
“This year I need to just about mention my whole team,” Flamm said. “I have a really strong distance runner, a freshman, who came out this year, Claire Burns. Emily Belmont is another freshman who has come out that will help to compliment our distance team.”
The distance team Flamm alluded to is made up partially by Claire’s sister, Kara Burns as well as freshman Maren Hance, who Flamm calls “invaluable.”
The depth of talent Flamm has is second to none in the conference and the coach believes that this could be one of the best teams that she has had the chance to coach in her 11 years at New Richmond.
“I think this is probably the best team I’ve coached, hands down,” Flamm said. “In the past, we’ve had holes here and there and this year, we’re pretty solid everywhere, so I’m looking forward to a fun year.”
With the runners spots pretty well filled, the Lady Lions have a good core of talent in the field as well.
“I would say Hannah Hall, who high jumps for us, has an excellent chance (to vie for a state title),” Flamm said. “She finished in the top-16 at state last year.
“Ally Skaggs is my pole vaulter. She could potentially reach Columbus.”
Flamm also believes that Behymer has a chance to do well at state as well as possibly the 4×100-meter relay team.
In the conference, the Lady Lions are the odds-on favorites to repeat, but Flamm is aware of the competition that exists in the SBC.
“Western Brown, you never know how they look because they’re always developing runners throughout the season,” Flamm said. “They’ve got Lauren Stacy this year, who transferred there from Bethel, so that’s a nice addition. Bethel is usually very strong as well. Norwood is new to the league, so I would expect they’re going to compete as well.”
The Lady Lions and Flamm will get their first look at Norwood when they travel to their Invitational on Friday, April 12, before embarking on a busy stretch of meets that include the Bethel Invitational on April 15, Winton Woods on the 18th, Finneytown the 23rd and 24th and the Goshen Invitational on May 2.
The regular season will hopefully act as a good prep for the postseason for the Lady Lions who are looking to make their mark on the state tournament.
The SBC will host their conference meet on May 14th and 15th with the district tournament taking place the following week at New Richmond.