The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


August 20, 2013

Harriers brave ‘The Hill’

Signature part of course tortures runners

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — When one thinks of Ashtabula, they’re probably thinking about the Lake, the beach, maybe some historic lighthouses, but probably not a mountainous terrain.

That is unless you are a cross country runner that has competed at on the course at Lake Shore Park. Then you know all about “The Hill.”

The hill greets runners about half a mile into the course. It is a steep incline that spans about 50 yards. They then run it again before completing the course.

At the War on the Shore on Monday, a girl from Poland could be heard approaching the hill.

“Can I take the steps?”

The answer is a resounding no.

“The Homely Hill” is what Lakeside Athletics Director Greg Zannelli passionately calls it.

“I’ve seen people, not Lakeside people, but other people, literally get to the top of that hill and sit down and cry.”

Zannelli coached cross country at Lakeside for ten years. The hill was a part of the course for the old Ashtabula Panther cross country program. Four years ago, Zannelli re-included it in the course.

The hill is a distinctive part of the Lakeside course. It is a cross country course in a literal sense. Runners must take on the beach, the grass and the road over the span of 3.1 miles.

Jeremiah Allen of Geneva ran the hill for the first time.

“It’s definitely one of the hardest I’ve ever faced,” Allen said. “You have to be ready to adapt to it. By the time you get to the top, you’re out of energy. You really have to kick yourself in the butt and look deep inside you to recover.”

William Taggart, a senior this year for Lakeside, is no stranger to the hill.

“We went to a camp a couple of weeks ago. That hill makes anything else around here look like a speed bump,” he said.

Taggart’s teammates agreed. “That is probably the thing that makes this the hardest course around,” Patrick Darrough said.

“It’s probably pretty intimidating (to other schools) Caleb Henery said. “It’s pretty tough and you have to run it twice. This being our home course, though, we train on it, so I guess we’re used to it.”

Yes, the ladies run up it as well.

"The biggest thing is probably mentally," Jefferson girls coach Steve Locy said. "We've all run hills. But you see it and you think I have to run it twice. It’s definitely mental."

"I sprint the hill just to get it over with," Carlie Watt of Lakeside said.

"It's definitely the hardest part of the race, Geneva's Hailey VanHoy said. "Yeah, it was hard on me. The three hills after the big one are what kill you.”

The hill is a challenge not only for the runners, but also the coaches.

“This is definitely a tactful course. You have to plan and strategize how you take it,” Lakeside coach Erik van’t Veer said. “You know there’s going to be a lot of hills. You have to be able to recover quickly.”

The hill is not only endured by the home team. Edgewood coach Steve Hill has great appreciation for it, as well.

“We try to down play it a little bit, but that’s definitely what people think of when they think of this course. It’s been the trademark of this place and it’s been since I ran here in the 1980s.

“There’s only one other course that matches up to this one and that’s Woodridge. Other than that, you’ll very rarely find anything 25 percent of that.  

“It’s an unfortunate thing that this has become more of a speed sport. Lakeside has stayed true to the sport and kept it an endurance course.”

It can be called challenging, brutal, intimidating, a test of human will. Folks from Lakeside are fine with just calling it “The Hill.”

Shaffer is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

Text Only
  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • valor A valiant effort

    Paralympians from all over the United States experienced three days of competition, education and fun during the Valor Games Gold Medal Camp at Spire this weekend.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • swim SUMMER SWIM

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anthony From player to coach

    When former Lakeside offensive lineman Anthony Colucci went down with a broken leg in Week 6 of his senior year at Capital University, he got a peak into what his future in football looks like.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video