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Running for History: State Cross Country Preview

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November 1, 2010

Running for History: State Cross Country Preview
Several teams and individuals look to set historical marks Saturday, while others hope to spoil the party

COLUMBUS, Ohio Every year since 1985, thousands have converged at Scioto Downs Race Track in Columbus on a fall Saturday for the OHSAA State Cross Country Championships. The 2010 edition, where 889 runners will take off this Saturday, will be no different. Six teams (three boys and three girls) and six individuals (three boys and three girls) will be crowned as state champions.

All six state championship teams from 2009 bring squads back to defend their titles in 2010. Cleveland St. Ignatius (Div. I), Peninsula Woodridge (Div. II) and Independence (Div. III) look to stand atop the podium again on the boys side, while Rocky River Magnificat (Div. I), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (Div. II) and Minster (Div. III) are back in the girls field.

The Woodridge boys team will be after its fifth consecutive state title, after winning gold the past four state meets. While six boys or girls cross country teams have won four consecutive state championships, the Caldwell boys program, which had a dominating eight-year state championship run from 1985 to 1992, is the only team to win more than four consecutive.

The 2009 state title for the Minster girls team was its eighth in school history, which makes it the state leader in girls cross country state championships. A ninth title would tie Minster with the Caldwell boys program for most state cross country championships in either gender.

Five of the six individual state champions from a year ago are back in the 2010 field. Most notably, perhaps, is senior Zach Wills of Mason. Wills has won the last two Div. I individual cross country state titles and will be looking for his third, a feat only four boys runners in the 81-year history of OHSAA cross country have accomplished. The last individual on the boys side to win three titles in a career was Vincent Fries of Attica Seneca East in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

Christina Blair (Jr., Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy), Tammy Berger (Jr., Versailles), Michael Brajdic (Sr., Bay Village Bay) and Ryan Polman (Jr., Independence) are also looking for repeat state title performances.

The 82nd annual boys meet will begin at 11:05 a.m. Saturday with Div. III to be followed by Div. II and Div. I. The 33rd annual girls meet starts at 1:20 with Div. III followed by Div. II and Div. I. Tickets are $9 and can be purchased at Scioto Downs Saturday. Results are posted at ohsaa.org following each race.

Contact: Brian Day, bday@ohsaa.org

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