CROSS COUNTRY 700 athletes will take field at Maplewood
Girls defending champ Lakeside will be challenged by Maplewood and McDonald.
MECCA -- With 700 athletes representing 12 boys and 12 girls teams, the 12th Maplewood Invitational Cross Country meet will be held Saturday at Maplewood High School.
Junior varsity races start at 10 a.m. followed by boys varsity at 11 and girls varsity at 11:30.
Over the last eight years, nine boys teams that competed in the meet went on to win state championships, Maplewood in 1997, 2002 and 2003, Girard in 1998 and 2000, McDonald in 1999, 2001 and 2004 and Ashtabula Edgewood in 2003.
After graduating four of its top six runners, defending champion McDonald will face tough competition from Edgewood, Middlefield Cardinal and Maplewood.
Andy Arnio of Maplewood returns to defend his individual title. His toughest competition will come from teammate Andy Morgan, Edgewood's Harrison Markel, McDonald's Joe Copploe, Southington's Ryan Gilanyi and Lakeside's James Smith.
The boys meet record (15 minutes, 51 seconds) is held by Niles' Chris Acs set in 1999.
Girls defending champ Lakeside will be challenged by Maplewood and McDonald, who finished second and third, respectively, last year.
Top contenders for the run will be Cardinal's Sara Perko, Lakeside's Sara Tackett, Lakeview's Katie Scannell and Maplewood's Ro Rupe.
Other schools entered are Badger, Champion, Conneaut, Garfield, Grand Valley, Jackson-Milton, Jefferson, LaBrae, Lordstown, Niles, Pymatuning Valley, Ravenna, Ashtabula Saints John and Paul, Southington, Warren Harding and Warren JFK.