CROSS COUNTRY State championship
When: Saturday, Scioto Downs in Columbus.
Directions: Take I-76 west to I-71 south through Columbus to 270 East. At the next exit, Route 23 (High Street), go south. Scioto Downs is 2 miles on the left.
Course notes: A horse track during the summer, Scioto Downs is primarily flat, which some feel favors Southern Ohio teams. PR's (personal records) are common and the course generally draws positive reviews from runners. Fans sit in a packed grandstand and will want to bring binoculars to see the action.
When: 12:35 p.m. (girls); 2:50 p.m. (boys).
Area teams: none.
Area individuals: Boardman's Tom Albani and Brittany Durkin.
Boys race: Albani could slip into the top 25 in the boys race. The Spartan senior was 54th at state in 2000, running 16:30. Regional champion Wesley Smith, second at state last year as a sophomore, leads regional champion Hudson. The top five runners in 2000 return, led by state champion Allen Bader of Cincinnati LaSalle.
Girls race: Durkin will make her first appearance at state, but ran at Scioto earlier this year. The Spartan sophomore took eighth at regionals with a time of 20:31. Lakewood sophomore Michelle Sikes took second at state last year.
When: 11:50 a.m. (girls); 2:05 p.m. (boys).
Area teams: none.
Area individuals: (Boys) Mooney's Joe Taylor, Champion's Ryan Petrick. (Girls) West Branch's Lisa Davies and Megan Cingcade, Mooney's Val Zajac, Southeast's Raina Keppler.
Boys race: Taylor placed sixth at regionals, running 17:12. The Cardinal senior placed 20th at state last year and could sneak into the top 12 to earn a spot on the podium. Petrick, a senior, finished 15th at Boardman to sneak into the last state spot. St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Anthony Mion (11th at state in 2000) and sophomore Matt Buzek (10th at state in 2000) were 1-2 at regionals, beating out Northwest's Dave Howard, who was second in the state last year.
Girls race: Davies and Zajac finished 4-5 and Cingcade was 34th at state last year as sophomores. Regional champion Amy Arnold took third at state in 2000 and won state titles in the mile and two-mile in track this year. Circleville senior Abbey Reeser was last year's state champion.
When: 11:05 a.m. (girls); 1:20 p.m. (boys).
Area teams: McDonald boys and girls, Maplewood boys.
Area individuals: (Boys) Maplewood -- John Palmer, Dave Pykare, Paul Moser, Terry Rush, Craig Rupe, Derek Armstrong, Luke Bortoff, McDonald -- Matt Isenberg, Jason Corman, Kevin Stonestreet, Joe Kunkel, Kevin Corman, Nick Testa and Tim Kunkel; David Mealy, Springfield; Todd McDevitt, Lisbon. (Girls) McDonald -- Jen Wenhold, Jess Wenhold, Nicole Booth, Erin Koppel, Nicole Tondo, Genny Jerome and Sarah Logar; South Range's Julie Nemergut, Lisbon's Katrina Brickner.
Boys race: The Blue Devils won the state championship in 1999 and were runners-up to Girard last year. The Rockets were state runners-up in 1998 and finished fourth last year. Maplewood's regional victory was a big boost for the Rockets, who lost to McDonald at districts. Either team could win state. Maplewood has more individual stars -- Palmer, Pykare and Moser were in the top five at Boardman -- but McDonald may hold the edge in depth. Mealy was 41st at state last year and sixth at Boardman. McDevitt was 11th at regionals.
Girls race: Despite having no seniors on the team, the Blue Devils are a threat to win the state title. McDonald took third in 2000. Nemergut, the regional champion, was 28th at state in 2000 and Brickner, the Malone district champion, was 26th. Sophomore Sunni Olding (Minster) and Carime Reinhart (Hopewell Loudon) were 1-2 at state last year.
-- Joe Scalzo