Carina Weaver

Lexington's Carina Weaver runs near the front of the pack during the Division II district meet at Galion's Amann Reservoir Park earlier this month.

LEXINGTON — October has been kind to Carina Weaver.

Lexington’s senior distance ace can only hope the trend continues during the first Saturday in November.

The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Weaver kicked off the month by verbally committing to run cross country and track at Ohio University and capped it by established a new personal record at the Division II Tiffin regional meet over the weekend. Her time of 18:44.10 was almost four seconds faster than her previous PR, which she set a week earlier at the Galion district meet.

“This was the race I’ve been waiting for all season, trying to get back under 19 (minutes),” Weaver said after running 18:48.2 at Galion. “I’m really excited for the rest of the season and to see what we can achieve as a team. We have very high expectations.”

The defending Division II state champion, Lexington has been atop the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Division II state poll the entire season. Lady Lex has lived up to the marquee billing, winning district and regional team titles in overwhelming fashion the past two weekends.

Lexington had a team score of 19 at the Tiffin regional, nearly 100 better than regional runner-up Ontario (117). Weaver finished fourth individually and two of the three runners who finished in front of her were Lady Lex teammates Halle Hamilton (18:34.98, second) and Joanna Halfhill (18:38.58, third).

“We have an amazing pack,” Lex coach Denise Benson said. “Everybody has stepped it up. The girls look absolutely amazing.”

Weaver was Lexington’s top finisher at state last fall, finishing 14th overall in 18:57. Lady Lex claimed the team title with a score of 137, 10 better than runner-up Fairfield Union (147).

Lexington was state runner-up in 2016 and won the state title in 2015.

A third team title in four years would be a fitting finale for Weaver, the only senior among Lexington’s top seven runners. The rest of the regional championship roster consisted of junior Tessa Gerhardt, sophomores Halfhill, Hamilton and Lily Weeks and freshmen Natalie Dininger and Kaydence Hines.

Given its recent history and well-deserved spot atop the coaches poll, Lexington has had an oversized target affixed to its back throughout the season. It hasn’t bothered Lad Lex in the slightest.

“As a team I think we are doing amazing dealing with the pressure, especially with two freshman who haven’t had any experience yet,” Weaver said. “My past three years have helped prepare me for it. We have really big goals for state. We’re hoping for another state championship and we’re going to try to get as many girls on the podium as possible.”

I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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