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OHSAA State Cross Country Preview
 November 5, 2011

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A Fresh Start: State Cross Country Preview
State cross country meet moves to National Trail Raceway after 26-year stint at Scioto Downs

COLUMBUS, Ohio – “Out with the old and in with the new.” That seems to be the theme for the upcoming 2011 state cross country meet that will be held this Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. In August, the OHSAA Board of Directors unanimously voted to move the state finals to National Trail after its 26-year stint at Scioto Downs.  During that time, the cross country state finals annually saw crowds in excess of 10,000, making it the largest attended cross country event in the nation. The 34th annual girls meet starts at 11:00 a.m. with Division III followed by Division II and Division I. The 83rd annual boys meet will begin at 1:30 p.m. with Division III to be followed by Division II and Division I. Tickets are $9 and can be purchased at National Trail Raceway Saturday. Results are posted at ohsaa.org following each race.

This year, fans are guaranteed to see at least five new victors crowned as five of the six 2010 individual champions graduated, including the two-time defending boys Division I medalist Zach Wills (Mason) and two-time defending Division II state champion Bay Village Bay’s Michael Brajdic, who also set the all-time course record at Scioto Downs with a time of 15:01.9 in 2010. Though participants will be running a new course, they can still expect to see six teams (three boys and three girls) and six individuals (three boys and three girls) crowned as state champions.

The first race of the day, girls Division III, features the most familiarity with the return of two-time defending state champion senior Tammy Berger (Versailles). Berger is looking to become the third girl to win three consecutive cross country state champions after finishing sixth her freshman year. 2010 team champion Minister is also back and looking to defend its title. The Wildcats have won three consecutive state championships and also tied the Caldwell boys program for the most state cross country championships in either gender (9) with its 2010 title.

The girls Division II race is highlighted by the return of 2010 team champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, who will be led by senior Tessa Weigand and junior Marissa Rossetti who both finished in the top 25 last year. Cincinnati Indian Hill senior Elizabeth Heinbach (fifth) and London sophomore Sarra Taylor (seventh) are the only returners from last year’s top 10.

With the graduation of Cincinnati Glen Este’s Michelle Thomas, the 2010 state champion, the girls Division I race looks to be very competitive with the return of five 2010 top 10 finishers including Medina senior Anna Boyert (fourth), Hudson junior Caroline Sauers (sixth), Cincinnati Princeton senior Claudia Saunders (seventh), Louisville junior Mackenzie Rankin (ninth) and Dublin Coffman sophomore Rachel Bosworth (tenth). Rocky River Magnificat, the 2010 team champion, is also back after winning three consecutive titles. The Blue Streaks are looking to become the fourth girls program with at least five state titles (1995-08-09-10).

On the boys side, Independence, the 2010 Division III state champions, is back and is relying on brothers Ryan and Kyle Polman to lead their team to another strong finish after finishing last year with fifth and 12th place finishes, respectively. The Blue Devils are in search of their third consecutive title. Other strong contenders for an individual medalist are North Lima South Range senior Ryan Roush, Versailles junior Samuel Prakel and Burton Berkshire senior Matt Pelletier, who finished last year’s race with sixth, seventh and eighth place finishes, respectively.

The 2010 Division II boys team champion Peninsula Woodridge will have their hands full trying to defend their title after the graduation of their top runner, Vibushan Sivakumaran, but 2010 12th place finisher Drake Sulzer hopes to lead his team to its sixth consecutive state title. Napoleon senior Steven Weaver and Chillicothe Unioto senior Adrian Ross are both back and looking to end their careers after finishing second and third in last year’s state meet.

Since the 2010 Division I state champion Louisville failed to qualify this year, there will be at least one new team champion crowned. 2010 seventh place finisher Khalid Omar (Reynoldsburg) and ninth place finisher Adam Davidson (Dublin Coffman) are also back after strong 2010 performances.

Contact: Kristin Daugherty, kdaugherty@ohsaa.org

 

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