Boardman senior Russ Waller has run well in the preseason.
When the Suburban Cross Country League gets underway today at Austintown Fitch, West Branch, Girard and Maplewood high schools, defending champion McDonald and runner-up Maplewood, both Division III schools, will again be the boys teams to be challenged during the 2002 season.
Pymatuning Valley enters the league, growing league membership to 39 schools ready for competition in boys and girls divisions.
McDonald captured the boys championship at Canfield Fairgrounds a year ago with 59 points. Joe Kunkel and Jason Corman, now juniors, placed 11th (17 minutes, 17.14 seconds) and 12th (17:17.63), respectively, in the 5000-meter run. Kevin Stonestreet, now a senior, finished 15th (17:28.4).
Paul Moser, now a junior, was fourth in 16:47.97 as the Rockets were second with 72 points. Seniors Terry Rush, John Palmer and Derek Armstrong are back giving Maplewood a solid nucleus to build around.
Boardman, which placed third in the meet, returns five of its top seven runners.
Senior captain Russ Waller won his age group in two preseason events. He won at Salem's Star Trax (16:19) and he was first at the Road Runners Preseason Classic.
Besides Waller, who placed 19th at the SVC championships, the Spartans return Jon Creighton, Tom Barth and Ben Haushalter, who finished in the top 50 at the meet.
Fitch, which was fourth at the SVC meet, returns Terry Rush, R.J. Holmes and Justin Setty, who were in the top 50 .
Girard is the defending girls champion. McDonald was second and Fitch third.
Lisa Davies, one of the area's top 3.1-mile runners, is the defending individual champion (19:25). The Warriors' Megan Cingcade finished 10th (20:59).
McDonald's twin sisters, Jen and Jessica Wenhold, placed second (19:52.8) and fifth (20:23), respectively.
Junior Brittany Durkin of Boardman was fourth (20:16), while Seniors Val Zajac and Deanna Schorsten of Mooney are back.