BYESVILLE - In a cross country runner's mind, when the calendar flips to October, it's go time.
That's the mentality that St. John Central junior Fallon Doyle has taken during her first two years of the distance running sport.
It appears after Saturday's annual OVAC Cal Pokas Cross Country Championship at balmy and rainy Meadowbrook High School, the two-time all-Ohioan is simply dialed in again and ready for the next month.
ST. JOHN junior Fallon?Doyle runs in the OVAC?Cal Pokas Cross Country Championship at Meadowbrook High School Saturday morning. Doyle finished second overall and won the Class 1A/2A title. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"I was very, very excited with this race," Doyle said. "This is the peak of the season, adrenaline is flowing and everyone's ready for it. I am excited."
Though the OVAC is still part of the regular season slate and the postseason doesn't begin, in Ohio, for a couple of more weeks, many harriers and coaches have begun the process of dialing back in the training with their sights set on what lies ahead.
"I love the postseason," Doyle said. "I'm looking forward to the districts and beyond."
Before shifting her total focus to an attempted return trip to the OHSAA State CC Championship at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Doyle had some business to tend to. She turned in a solid time of 18:39, but still finished second by 63 seconds to University's Amelia Paladino, who repeated as champion.
"She's a very, very talented runner, so I just tried to gauge myself off of her," Doyle said. "I wanted to stay as close as possible, but I knew I had to run my race at the same time by starting out under control, setting the pace and move up as fast as I could during the second and third miles."
Despite Doyle's victory in the small-school race and second-place overall, the Lady Irish failed to repeat as champions.
Caldwell - with Jenna Furr leading the way - captured the school's third conference title. It finished with 101 points, which was good enough for third place overall.
The Lady Redskins of Coach Dugan Hill finished with 64 fewer points than the Lady Irish, who were seeking their seventh conference title. On top of Furr's seventh-place overall finish, Caldwell placed Katie Saling and frosh Lindsey Furr inside the top 20.
Martins Ferry, which came up 15 points shy of Oak Glen in the Class 4A race, was fueled by all-OVAC runner Jamie Truchan.
Not only did she lead the way for the Lady Riders, she finished second in 4A to Oak Glen's Kelsey Chambers and 14th overall in 20:23, earning the all-conference distinction.
Overall, the race was dominated by the Monongalia County schools of Morgantown and University.
The Lady Mohigans had four of their five runners earn all-OVAC en route to 60 points and the overall and Class 5A title. University finished with 81.
The crown was the second straight and overall for Morgantown.
Fort Frye edged out Bellaire in the 3A team race. The Lady Cadets finished with 146 points en route to their third straight title. Frosh Mary Kate McElroy led the way for the Beverly-based outfit, finishing fifth overall.
Bellaire's top two finishers were the Sisters Stoner - Danielle and Taylor. They finished back-to-back in 20th and 21st, respectively.