DARKE COUNTY – A pair of juniors who are great leaders and standouts for their teams are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Arcanum boys cross country runner Isaac Stephens and Franklin Monroe girls soccer player Bryanna Diceanu.
Stephens won Tri-Village’s Patriot Invitational on Tuesday with a time of 17:56, besting the rest of the field by seven seconds. Winning at Tri-Village, which has a tough course, was a big goal for Stephens, Arcanum cross country coach Chris Kessler said.
“I was really proud of him,” Kessler said. “He ran hard.”
Stephens has been one of the best runners in the area throughout the season. His season-best time of 17:23 is third among all Darke County runners.
The Arcanum junior also is one of the top five runners in the Cross County Conference, Kessler said, and currently one of the top 15 in the district.
He’ll do well at the end-of-season meets, Kessler said, as he pushes to reach his goal of qualifying for state.
“He’ll give them good competition,” Kessler said.
In addition to being the Trojans’ top runner, Stephens also has been a great leader for his teammates.
“He’s been working really hard,” Kessler said. “He’s always motivating other team members.”
Diceanu has come on real strong in the past week. She scored three goals and had an assist against Greenville and then scored two goals in a 2-0 win against Twin Valley South.
“Somebody’s got to finish, and Bryanna’s stepping up and doing that,” Franklin Monroe girls soccer coach Scott Howell said.
But it’s not just scoring that makes Diceanu stand out. As a junior she’s stepped up and taken on a big leadership role, Howell said.
“She really did a lot more than that as far as showing leadership on the field,” he said. “She’s kind of becoming a coach on the field.”
Diceanu’s father coaches the Franklin Monroe boys soccer team and her brother was one of the Jets’ top soccer players so it’s not surprising that she’s such a leader for the Lady Jets, Howell said. But he’s been impressed with how she’s taken on the role and the pressure of the expectations put on her.
“She’s really grown into that spot real nice,” Howell said.