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McDonald among favorites at Spartan Invitational

Published: Fri, September 16, 2011 @ 12:02 a.m.




9 a.m. ................... Boys D-III Varsity

9:30 a.m. ............. Girls D-III Varsity

10 a.m. ................. Boys D-II & D-III Middle

School (All runners)

10:30 a.m. ............ Girls D-II & D-III Middle

School (All runners)

11 a.m. .................. Boys D-II Varsity

11:30 a.m. ............ Boys D-II JV Open Race

Noon .................... Girls D-II Varsity

12:30 p.m. ............ Girls D-II JV Open Race

1 p.m. .................... Boys D-I Varsity

1:30 p.m. .............. Boys D-I JV Open Race

2 p.m. ................... Girls D-I Varsity

2:30 p.m. ............. Girls D-I JV Open Race

3 p.m. ................... Boys D-I Middle School (All runners)

3:30 p.m. ............. Girls D-I Middle School (All runners)

By Greg Gulas



Last fall, the Spartan Invitational’s silver anniversary race drew a record number of schools, participants and fans.

On Saturday, the invitational will attract another record number of schools but while the field is slightly down in numbers, another record gallery is once again expected.

Fourteen races are on tap beginning at 9 a.m. for both high school and middle school teams with 122 boys teams and 121 girls squads expected to compete.

There are also 66 schools entered in both the girls and boys middle school races.

“The meet is a school and community-wide event and was started 26 years ago by former Boardman coach Bruce Breunig,” said meet director Denise Gorski.

“Former athletic director Jim Fox then took it over some 20 years ago, wanting to increase the size of the meet. What he did over the years is create not only one of the largest meets in Ohio, but a very prestigious meet with many special touches and an attention to detail that we are simply trying to continue,” Gorski said.

The McDonald boys and girls were the Division III champions at the Spartan last year with boys coach Chris Rupe and girls coach Michael Richards prepping their respective squads to defend their titles.

“It’s always great to see most of the teams that comprise the regionals,” said Richards. “To run the course and see our competition is an added plus.

“In recent years, four teams that have come out of our regional have finished in the top five at the Spartan Invitational,” Richards said.

Last year, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary won both the Division II boys and girls competitions. The SVSM girls later captured the state title and the boys squad finished as state runners-up.

“The Spartan Invitational is the featured event of the year for both of our teams; first because it is extremely well-organized and second, because we use it as a preview of the regionals,” said SVSM coach Dan Lancianese

“Last year they re-created a finish chute like the one used at the state championships. That to me was the coup d’ tat of the event.

“In my 18 years as coach we have gone to Boardman for the regionals wanting our teams to experience the course. Despite the fact that we won’t be in those regionals this year, we still want our players to experience the competition,” Lancianese said.

This year there will be 4,783 participants; down from the 5,200 who were entered last year.

“Many schools have implemented an athletic fee due to budget cuts in school state funding and although we have more teams than ever before, the rosters are slightly down; possibly due to those fees,” Gorski said.

The major sponsor is Merrill Lynch, continuing a long association with the event.

“Their monetary contributions each year are vital to making this a very successful event,” said Gorski.

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