Cross Country: Running is 'family culture' for Canal Winchester's Klamoricks

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Running is more than a hobby for the Klamorick family, as evidenced by their success within the Canal Winchester cross country program. Coach Michelle Klamorick, center, is flanked by her two oldest daughters, senior Allena, left, and sophomore Marissa. Oldest son Reece, a 2020 graduate, also ran for the Indians. Two more siblings, fifth-grader Reide and fourth-grader Quinn, expect to run for the Indians in the future.

It took a lengthy, perhaps winding series of events for the Klamorick name to become synonymous with Canal Winchester cross country.

Coach Michelle Klamorick was a sprinter for the girls track and field team at Bloomfield, a high school in Trumbull County that did not have a cross country team when she was a student.

Oldest son, Reece, played baseball throughout his youth and continued to do so through high school. Two of his younger sisters, Allena and Marissa, played travel softball for several years.

But through it all, they ran.

“It’s been a family culture,” Michelle said. “They started running when they were probably 4 or 5. We lived in the country at the time and eventually, they’d go farther than me half the time. Then they just fell in love with running once they got into middle school.

“We’re a very active family. We don’t own a video-game system. They’ve never been into any of that. They’ve always just loved being outside, so we cultivated that into doing anything we could outside to stay healthy and active.”

Reece, a 2020 graduate who is studying to be an electrician, was a mainstay in the boys team’s top seven all four years.

Allena, a senior who recently committed to Lipscomb, was the girls team’s No. 2 runner for most of her freshman season and the top runner in her next 24 races – including two Division I regional meets – before the OCC-Capital Division meet Oct. 17 at Westerville North. Marissa, a sophomore, consistently has been in the top seven both years.

Fifth-grader Reide, 11, and fourth-grade Quinn, 9, already are following in their older siblings’ footsteps. Their father, Peter, ran cross country and track at Malone.

“We got the best of both worlds (from our parents). My dad helped me with endurance, and my mother has given the speed,” said Allena, who was 6 when she started running but said she didn’t take it seriously until about sixth grade. “I have the endurance to go one or two miles, but the speed to run the (400). It’s really nice.”

Michelle coached the middle school team for three years before taking over the high school program from Jeff Kline in December 2018.

Marissa admitted that she didn’t warm to running as quickly as Reece and Allena.

“I just didn’t like it as much, but I grew into it,” she said. “I like the team aspect of this. We’re like family. I didn’t realize that until maybe seventh grade. I created a lot of new friendships, and it just grew on me then.”

The spirit of competition is not limited to the older siblings. Reide and Quinn said competition and love of family drive their desire to run.

“I love to run with my mom because I get to spend time with her while I am exercising,” Quinn said. “I want to be fast like my sisters someday.”

Canal Winchester begins the postseason Saturday, Oct. 24, with the Division I, district 3 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top six teams and 24 runners advance to regional Oct. 31 at Pickerington North.

“When I race, I used to tell myself I couldn’t do it anymore, but I’ve taught myself I am strong,” said Allena, who was 64th at regional as a sophomore and 26th last year. “When I feel like I can’t go anymore, I just keep encouraging myself to do this. I’ve done it so many times before.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave