“Erin blessed us with a beautiful race day,” said Terry Nance of his late daughter on Saturday, the day of the cross country meet that bears her name. “You could sense that she was there.”

On Saturday, Sept. 29, cross country teams came from across the state to participate in the Annual Erin L. Nance Distance Classic, held at London Country Club. Since 1998 the event has been held in memory of a LHS cross country runner who died in a car accident her senior year. Her father Terry and mother Connie – as well as a number of dedicated volunteers – work hard to make it the marquee event of its kind in Ohio. Prior to 1998, it was known as the London Invitational.

At the beginning of each race, Erin’s parents – Terry and Connie – personally address each group of young athletes as they wait at the starting line. It is a roller coaster of emotion as they continue to be proud to hold the event in her memory, but are still very saddened by the loss of their precious daughter.

“We thank them for coming to help us in this celebration and help us keep her spirit and memory alive,” Terry said of his pre-race remarks. “We say that Erin’s passing shows us that life is precious and that there are no guarantees for tomorrow or the future … plan for tomorrow and beyond, but live and enjoy life today.”

For new London High School Assistant Principal Carla Shaw, her first exposure to the event was two-fold. She was not only a new LHS administrator, but her son, Kieren, ran for Hamilton Township in the middle school race.

“This cross country meet was officiated and ran extremely well, (while) the meet was ran on a beautiful course,” Shaw said. “Thank you to Erin’s father, Terry Nance for his continued support of London City Schools through the Erin L. Nance Memorial Scholarship Fund.”

Several local athletes participated in the marquee event of the cross country season.

Destiny Clifton led the London girls squad, finishing in 77th place overall. Also running were Harley Redding (87), Kaylynn Martinez (102) and Arianna Douglas (103). Gracie Farmer (82) ran for Madison-Plains.

The running Red Raiders boys placed 13th out of 19 teams, led by James Marco (24th place). Other London runners were Lucas Brenstuhl (52), Stephen Rausch (55), Adam Siddiqi (90), Dominic Davis (91), Zack Joliffe, and Marcus Cox. LHS’ Jimmy Brayshaw and Andrew Jordan were in the junior varsity race.

Madison-Plains was represented by Joey Grigsby (102), Ken Shafer, Roger Doughman, and Ayden McPherson.

London’s Molly Weese placed sixth overall in the middle school race, while teammate Riley Colestock finished ninth. Lauren Peters also participated.

Participants in the middle school boys’ race included London’s Jacob Adkins, Conner Hamms, Luke Marriott, and Brady Cahill. Jonah Cordell and AJ Rice participated for Madison-Plains.

Terry makes sure not to be forgotten, along with Erin’s memory, are the hours of help and caring provided by his late daughter’s friends and family.

“We are very humbled by the outpouring of support and love from the army of volunteers who help us,” Terry said. “These volunteers include friends, former athletes, former colleagues, parents of former athletes and friends and classmates of Erin.

“This support and love is so overwhelming that we find ourselves questioning whether or not we are worthy of this attention.”