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Time's right for Schuler, Richmond

December 27, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

10:44.71.

If there were a six-digit combination to receiving NCAA Division I running money, that's what Chambersburg High School senior Kylee Schuler used to crack the University of Richmond's full-scholarship vault.

"That was definitely the selling point," said Schuler, who clocked a Tri-State-record time of 10 minutes, 44.71 seconds in the 3,200-meter run to place fourth at the PIAA state track championships last spring.

Schuler, the 2003 Herald-Mail Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, recently made a verbal commitment to continue her academic and athletic careers at Richmond, where she'll receive a full ride to run cross country, indoor and outdoor track for the Spiders.

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"Right now, female distance runners are getting some money," Chambersburg girls track and cross country coach Chris Monheim said. "Fortunately, for Kylee's sake, she posted a national-class time last spring and that attracted a lot of big-time schools.

"She set herself up nicely. Richmond is going to be a perfect fit for her. That's where I was hoping she'd go. From what I've seen and the people I've talked to, Richmond impressed me the most."

Schuler said she chose Richmond over several other D-I programs, including Vanderbilt, Arizona State and Purdue.

"I just got a better feeling at Richmond," said Schuler, who visited the campus in early November. "I just liked the total package of the school and the coaches and the offer."

Guided by the husband-wife coaching tandem of Steve and Lori Taylor, the Spiders won the Atlantic 10 women's cross country title last month.

"That was important to me, just because Chambersburg has been so good," said Schuler, who helped lead the Trojans cross country team to a state runner-up finish and Mid-Penn Conference and District 3 titles last season. "It's fun to win."

While Richmond fell short of earning a berth at nationals, Schuler hopes her efforts will improve the Spiders' chances in the upcoming seasons.

"Richmond has a great chance to make to nationals," she said, "because of the depth they have returning and because they're also getting the state champion (Caitlin Chock) in from California and a Foot Locker national finalist (Kate Merrill) from North Carolina.

"I think bringing us three in will give them the extra boost."

But Schuler isn't quite ready to pack her bags and head south. She said she has more goals to chase wearing a Chambersburg singlet, such as lowering her 3,200 time and breaking 5 minutes in the 1,600 for the first time.

"She works as hard as anyone I've ever seen," Monheim said. "She continues to set a great example."

Schuler said her collegiate goals are all about continued improvement.

"I just want to get in the best shape possible and see what my total potential is," she said. "As you get older, you're supposed to run faster, and I just want to reach my peak potential."

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