By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — Newton girls cross country coach Tiffany McBride remembers taking her son Brady to watch two of the best runners in the state — Jeff See of Middletown and Levi Fox of Troy — run at the Troy regional meet in 2003 and 2004.
Not only did See win the state title both years, but Fox finished fourth in 2003 and second to See in 2004 at the state meet.
“I remember thinking how proud their parents must be of them,” Tiffany said. “This year, that was me (along with her husband and Brady’s father Pat McBride).”
That’s because her son Brady, now a senior at Newton, capped an amazing run by winning the D-III regional race in 16:06.2.
McBride has the Newton school record, set the Cross County Conference record in winning that meet and was coming off winning a district title.
“I always hoped I would be able to do that,” Brady said in recalling watching See and Fox run. “They were great runners and I am pretty competitive.”
Saturday, at the state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron at 1:30 p.m., will also be the final race McBride will run with Tiffany as his coach — a bond that she understands all too well and hates to see end.
Tiffany was a former athlete at Newton, who had the opportunity to play for her father Cecil Jackson in basketball.
“It think it is (great to share that bond with her son),” Tiffany said. “Usually it is a father and son. He has always loved running and it is something we have been able to share.”
As she has with her father as well.
“They didn’t have cross country and track at Newton then,” Tiffany said. “So, I played volleyball, basketball and softball. I always enjoyed running. He (her father) probably started running when I was 18. It is something we enjoyed. We have run in a couple marathons together. We always ran in the Pleasant Hill Triathlon and West Milton Triathlon.”
Tiffany and Brady have that same bond, from when Brady was a young boy.
“I was helping out with Arcanum cross country,” Tiffany said. “They would have fun runs at a lot of the meets and I would enter Brady in those races and he really enjoyed it.”
She became the Newton cross country coach when Brady was in the sixth grade and has built it to the point that the boys earned their first regional berth and won the CCC title as a team this year and the girls were close to qualifying to regionals, with Macy Flanary finished 18th at the regional meet.
But Tiffany will admit it is special coaching Brady.
“I saw he had a lot of talent and he is a very hard worker,” Tiffany said.
And she credits that with his rise in the sport, which he has taken to another level as a junior and senior.
“He always eats very healthy — annoyingly healthy,” Tiffany said with a laugh. “And he is very dedicated. He gives up going out with his friends, especially on Friday nights — because he has a race to run on Saturday mornings.”
While McBride had success as a freshman and sophomore, he was determined to take it to another level.
Last year as a junior, he made it to state for the first time and finished 51st in 17:05.35.
“I think my hard work and maturation started to show last year,” McBride said. “But, I had an injury midway through the season. That stopped my momentum. This year, I have been able to stay healthy and it has showed.”
No matter what he does Saturday, Brady feels blessed to have had his mother for a coach.
“I feel very fortunate to have had her for a coach,” he said. “She works really closely with me and points things out. She has definitely been a big help to me.”
And being the competitor he is, McBride is well aware of what other runners in the state are doing.
“I am lucky,” Tiffany said. “He does all that. He is a numbers guy. I don’t have to do any of that. He already knows that.”
McBride has the fifth fastest qualifying time from the four regionals.
Sam Williamson of Antwerp ran a 15:34.8 in winning his regional, while defending state champion Tristen Dahmen of Maplewood is also in the field.
“I looked at the numbers a little bit, but not too much,” Brady said.
He is prepared to make his final race his best one.
“I think last year will help me a lot — and we ran over there (at National Trail Raceway) in the pre-season race,” Brady said. “So, I know the course and how to run it pretty well. I want to get on the podium. Finishing in the top 10 would be a great way to finish.”
Which is something Brady is still having trouble grasping.
“The time has flown by,” he said. “It seems like yesterday, it was my freshman.”
And while Brady, who plans to run at the college level, may be losing his coach — he will always have his mom and the bond they share through running.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.