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Lakewood Times

Charlie Payne and Cross Country Team Take on McQuaid, NY


Lakewood’s Cross Country teams have been taking this season by storm, setting consistent personal records and placing high in rankings. The Lakewood Times caught up with the coaches for both teams to get their thoughts on how the season is going. Up first is Coach Swiat, who leads the Girls Cross Country team.

“How are the girls doing this year?”

Our girl’s team has been working hard all season and all summer to be ready to compete. Like any team, we have had our share of adversities to overcome. We have yet to have our top seven runners compete in the same race all year long. But we have had plenty of big moments this year. We added a new name to our top 50 all-time list this past Saturday, Mae Mohar is now 34th. Her teammate Josie Kavic is currently sixth. We have also had big races from Anna Daso all year. She has stepped up and finished first for our team three times this year. We had a big group of freshmen come out this year, we had twelve. A few of them have already made an impact on the varsity team, so we are building a strong foundation.”

“What are your goals for the rest of the season?” 

Goals for the rest of the season is to stay healthy and compete hard. This is such a tough sport both mentally and physically. Everyone is a bit sore this time of year. It’s about getting the right rest at the right time. We are traveling to Rochester NY this weekend to compete at the McQuaid Invitational, where we finished third last year. Then we gear up for Conferences and Districts. We want to qualify for Regionals as a team. We have sent someone to Regionals every year I have been here coaching. It would mean a lot to get our whole team there this year. Our District meet is one of the toughest in the State.”


The Lakewood Times also spoke with Coach Moore, who heads up the Boys Cross Country team.

How is the boys’ team doing this year?

“The Boys Cross Country Team has continued to improve each week throughout the 2023 season. There are 37 boys on the roster (24 underclassmen), so it’s a very young team working together to help one another get stronger and faster each passing week. The seniors have had a season filled with PRs (Personal Records) at the 5,000meter (5k) distance, led by the fantastic captain leadership of Charlie Payne, Turner Gilliland, Ronan Barley, Jonathan Reighard and Hutch Reed.”

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

“We work toward a common goal each week and will continue to apply this plan and concept throughout the remainder of the season… the goal of IMPROVEMENT! With such a young team, learning how to work hard, and stay consistent in the training while being an incredibly supportive teammate is paramount to our overall goal of continued ‘Improvement.’ As our team continues to improve each week, this keeps the overall culture heading in the right direction, and that is critically important for the goals of this year and beyond.” 


As Coach Moore mentioned, senior Charlie Payne has been having a very successful season. This past weekend, on Saturday, Sept. 23, he finished second overall and ranked third, All-Time for Lakewood High School at the Strongsville Invite. This finish could quite possibly foreshadow this upcoming weekend as the girls’ and boy’s cross-country teams travel to McQuaid NY for a varsity invite. Payne’s season started at OHSAA’s Early Season Invitational with a 15:50 pace 5k finish. In this race, he placed ninth for the fastest ever in Lakewood High School history at this specific meet as he also led young runners with this representative team finish. 

The Lakewood Times caught up with Payne to see how he feels about his senior season.

“How long have you been on varsity?”

“I have been running in high school varsity races since my freshman year.” 

“How do you think you’ll do this weekend?”

“This weekend should be a good race for the team and I. We are running at the McQuaid Invitational, which is in Rochester, NY. Last year I placed fourth place in the race, and with the improvements I have made I am confident in winning the race.” 

“How do you think this current season has gone?”

“So far, this season has been going great. I am staying constant with training and seeing good results. Last weekend at Strongsville, I placed second overall and ran a 15:30, which is two seconds away from the school record. Overall, I have big plans for this season and am excited for my future in running.”


To watch Lakewood’s outcome this weekend, along with Payne’s, check out the Lakewood Cross Country’s X account, @LkwdLHSXC, for updates.

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About the Contributors
Danika Patera
Danika Patera has gone through 10 years of Lakewood public schooling and is now in her sophomore year at Lakewood High School. Patera is going into her second year as a wrestler on the  Lakewood Girls Wrestling Team. She continues her life outside of classes with hobbies including working out, baking, taking photos, enjoying the beach during the summer, and enjoying time with friends. She is knowledgeable in history and the sciences, with consistent honor and merit roll. Patera has her mind set on ROTC at Ohio University or out-of-state schooling in Colorado with the United States Air Force Academy. She is still undecided on which route to go, but is comfortably interested in special forces.
Fiona Radke
Fiona Radke is a sophomore at Lakewood High School. She has a great personality and she plays basketball. After high school, she plans to attend college at Bowling Green or University of Tennessee to study nursing.

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