Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

October 13, 2013

Running with the Devils

Russell has ‘Big 3’ in Riley, Heyerly, Andre; solid supporting cast, too

FLATWOODS — When Russell’s “Big Three” once again dwindled to two, mainstays Josh Riley and Jacob Heyerly were left in search of a cross country compadre.

In 2011, it was Riley, Heyerly and Brandon Yates.

In 2012, it was Riley, Heyerly and Ross Lane.

Who would fill the void in 2013, Riley’s and Heyerly’s senior season?

The in-house recruiting trail led to soccer player Tyler Andre this past summer.

It took some playful coaxing ...

“We told him that we needed him more than the soccer team,” Heyerly said. “We said, ‘No one likes you on the soccer team.’ We were kidding around, but it worked out.”

... but Andre ultimately agreed to drop the ball and goal and solely focus on green grass and fast feet.

“It was really tough, like, I love playing soccer and I love the soccer team,” said Andre, who enjoyed a successful track & field season as a freshman. “But I knew this would be a better decision.”

If needing further evidence that he made the right choice — and that Riley and Heyerly made the correct selection — use Tuesday’s Russell Invitational as the latest exhibit.

At Ashland Regional Airport, Riley blazed the flat course in 16:55 (his personal record is 16:44, achieved at Mason County this year). Riley quickly caught his breath and congregated with friends to cheer on the second- and third-place finishers, the completion of the “Big Three.”

Andre’s time of 17:33 was a P.R. and Heyerly crossed at 17:34.

“He’s shocked the crap out of us,” Heyerly blurted about Andre.

Russell snatched another team title by a comfortable margin in its most recent meet. The defending Class 2A, Region 6 champion Red Devils are now ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 2A.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better season so far, team-wise and individually,” Riley said. “I’m dreaming of that opportunity to be in the top 10 (individually) at state, and top four or five as a team.”

Riley was ranked 15th among all Class 2A runners in the latest statewide poll.

Had he not moved back to the area after two years in Williamsburg, Va., Riley wouldn’t be one of Russell’s touted trinity either.

“Josh coming back really helped the team for sure,” Heyerly said. The two formed a friendship in middle school. “Me and Josh have been pushing each other, and have been pushing the younger kids.”

Russell’s reasons for such a stellar season number deeper than just its talented trio.

The Red Devils could have more than just a “Big Three” for a few years to come.

Freshman Seth Atkins and eighth-grader Jax Downs each joined Riley, Heyerly and Andre in the top 10 in the Eastern Kentucky Conference Championships on Oct. 2.

Jordan Vallance, Chris Cooper and Ben Stringer are also running well for the Devils.

Just about six weeks ago, at the Early Season Showcase in Westwood, Russell started off well but in strange fashion. Heyerly had back spasms, Riley chose to run with no socks and suffered from blisters, and it took Andre, Downs and Vallance each more than 19 minutes to complete the course.

Health is much better — with the exception of a thyroid issue that Heyerly is battling — and times are much improved.

To top it all off over the next four weeks, Russell’s “Big Three” and company are hoping to complete a three-step process.

“We want to win area, regional and make the stage at state, which is top four,” Riley said. “That’s a dream come true.”

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.
     

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mobley, Jude key for EKU

    Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood has revamped the Colonels’ defense in hopes of containing OVC opponents’ spread offenses.

    July 29, 2014

  • ZACK KLEMME: Punchless Reds wasting solid pitching

    The last nine days have been an exercise in understanding just how slim the margin for error is for baseball teams — even good ones — that can’t score.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone