December 22, 2014

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Girls H.S. Track and Field: Sher Champe, Amherst have high hopes after 3rd-place finish at state last year

Sher Champe and the rest of the Amherst girls team have high hopes for the season after finishing third at state. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Sher Champe and the rest of the Amherst girls team have high hopes for the season after finishing third at state. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Raise the bar. Go the extra mile. The track and field vernacular is perfect to describe the focus of Sher Champe and her Amherst teammates.

“I’m definitely looking forward to having the type of season we had last year,” said Champe, a University of Iowa recruit and 2013 Southwestern Conference MVP. “It was fun. We created a lot of special bonding. If we can have a good connection again this year, then everything will just come together.”

The Amherst girls finished third at the 2013 Division I state championships — the best finish in the history of the girls program. Amherst scored in six of eight events in which it advanced from the regional.

The Comets set three school records and one Lorain County record and tied another team record.

Amherst finished with 24 points at the state meet, just one behind second-place Cincinnati Withrow (25) as Solon (47) won its first state crown. All eight Amherst girls that qualified to state earned All-Ohio honors (top eight) in at least one event.

So what goals do the Comets set for this season?

They start with title defenses at the Comet Relays, SWC championships, districts and regionals. The list is nothing to sneeze at.

Champe set a school record in the 400 meters (55.75) when she finished fifth at state. The Comets set a Lorain County record, taking fifth for the 800-meter relay (1:41.40). They also had the second-fastest county time ever while taking fourth in the 1,600-meter relay (3:52.94).

“Last year was my first year running the 400 meters,” Champe said. “My goal this season is to take off another second. That would be awesome. I might even try the 800 because it’s an event I’ll likely be running at college.”

The Amherst girls and boys teams have a combined roster of 150 athletes, the most in 10 years.

“It’s going to be tough because we graduated so many key runners,” Champe said. “If we step it up in our individual events, that should help us out a lot. We definitely have the potential.

“The athletes that graduated from last year were naturally talented. Hard work pays off. If we work hard this year, I believe we can be as good as we were last year. A lot of girls need to step up in all positions.”

It was a bit of a tough winter for Champe, but she’s back on course.

She suffered a concussion during basketball season on Dec. 11 at Berea-Midpark when she was elbowed in the side of the face while fighting for a rebound, and was sidelined for a couple of weeks. She also suffered a minor concussion at practice during varsity soccer last fall but didn’t miss any games.

“Last year we went into the SWC meet with some high expectations and Sher definitely rose up to those expectations,” Amherst coach Rob Glatz said. “It was exciting. Obviously, throughout the championship season she continued to progress and scored so many points for us in the postseason. It was amazing.

“She realized what potential she really had. Sher’s an incredible athlete. Everybody that knows her knows she has a lot of energy. She focused on improving herself as much as she possibly could. She certainly did that last year as the season progressed. Her intensity increased every week.”

Champe went to the Division I state meet as a sophomore as a member of the 12th-place 800-meter relay. The experience helped propel her into last year.

“Two years of state meet experience is huge,” Glatz said. “She has phenomenal athleticism. She has an incredible amount of energy and now is trying to bring focus into that, which makes her potential limitless.”

Contact Paul Heyse at (440) 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

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