The progression of Kyle Lach as a distance runner has been steady during his four years at St. Francis de Sales.
It’s been noticeable. It’s become record-breaking.
“It’s all come together with another year of experience,” said Lach, who recently set the school record for the 3200 meters.
The senior pushed himself to a time of 9 minutes, 24 seconds to cover the eight-lap race at the Amherst Invitational three weeks ago, shattering the old mark of 9:29 set by Brad Wotring in 1986.
St. Francis track coach George Schaefer isn’t surprised about what Lach accomplished in Amherst even though Lach wasn’t really pushed by the competition during the race. He’s witnessed practically every step of Lach’s development as a runner.
That record-setting effort was representative of Lach’s commitment to running, according to Schaefer.
“He’s been very consistent and his work ethic is very good,” Schaefer said.
The steady progress by Lach has been personally beneficial, as well as a boost for the Knights’ track and cross country teams.
Lach is a returning state qualifier in track and has been a member of the cross country teams that ran in the state championships the last three years. He placed 13th at the Division I state track and field meet last season in the 1600 with a time of 4:24.76.
He recently signed a letter of intent to run cross country at the University of Dayton. The school does not have a men's track program.
Ohio State also showed interest but the Flyers offered more scholarship funding.
“I liked both schools about the same,” he said. “It was the offer from Dayton I considered the difference.”
So his track days appear to be numbered.
If Lach has his way, he’ll make a return trip to the state meet.
Besides placing in the 1600 last year, Lach also ran with Dan Lenart, William Cameron, and Anthony Maraldo to finish ninth in the 3200 relay with a time of 7:57.19.
Lach said that he wants to finish on a high note.
“I’m just focusing on track for the team and just try to keep moving up,” Lach said. “I’m not going to worry about running cross country for Dayton until the track season is over.”
Lach — along with seniors Pat Davis, Chrish Schenk, and Lenart; junior Dan Siebenaller; and sophomores David St. John and Jason White — ran at the state cross country meet last fall and finished ninth in the team standings. Lach was 51st overall with a time of 16:09.41 and ran second among the Knights behind St. John (34th, 15:57.57).
The Knights placed eighth at state cross country during Lach’s sophomore season, when he finished 70th (16:29.97). That followed a fifth-place team showing, when he was a freshman and placed 92nd (16:37.3).
Scahaefer said Lach’s senior leadership, along with Davis, Schenk and Lenart, have helped bring along underclassmen like St. John and White, who have already shown plenty of progress during their young careers.
The Knights compete Friday at the Eagle Invitational at Clay, then have the Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships next weekend at Central Catholic.
Lach, who runs on average between 40-50 miles per week, hasn’t decided if he’ll try to reach state in both the 1600 and 3200 or focus on one race.
“He’s got his mind set on the mile,” Schaefer said. “If he wants to do it, he’ll do it.”
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.