Ohio boys team bolstered by late addition for 31st annual Mid-East Cross Country Championships

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Ohio boys team bolstered by late addition for 31st annual Mid-East Cross Country Championships

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Lakota East senior Dustin Horter (left) sprints ahead of Middletown junior Conant Smith (right) to win the Division I cross-country state championship this season at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. GREG BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

Ohio teams used to own the Mid-East Cross-Country Championships. The late addition of Lakota East standout Dustin Horter could renew that title run.

“Maybe we can have a championship this year,” meet founder and director Neal Charske said. “We used to have them all the time but it’s been dry lately.”

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The 31st edition of the annual event will be held Saturday at Kettering’s Indian Riffle Park. The 5K (3.1 miles) event features the top girls and boys high school seniors from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

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Unlike the regular season, this meet features team competition with a maximum of 12 runners to each team. The top five placers on each team are scored, with the sixth as the tie-breaker. The event is sponsored by the Greater Dayton Track and Cross Country Officials Association and the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches.

The girls will race at 11 a.m. Saturday and the boys at 11:30.

Horter has won multiple Division I state cross-country and track and field individual titles. He lost once as a senior this past season, although he set a PR of 14.36.80 in the Midwest Meet of Champions in late September. Just last weekend he won the Nike Midwest Regional Championships (14:57.6) at Terre Haute, Ind.

Horter is committed to Indiana University.

Carroll’s Karl Grossman, Max Pettit of Greenon and Versailles’ Joe Spitzer will join Horter on Team Ohio. Perri Bockrath of Alter will compete for the Girls Team Ohio. Minster’s Jessie Magoto will coach the Ohio girls and Jim Weckesser of Beavercreek the Ohio boys.

“What’s neat about it is these kids are racing against each other all year,” said Charske, a former Fairmont East head coach who still serves as a cross-country and track and field official, along with his wife, Barb. “Now, they’re teammates and working for a common cause.”

The race is a challenging and viewer-friendly 5K course that Fairmont runs, although altered slightly with a finish in the wooded area by the shelter. Teams from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia also have competed through the years. Eventual U.S. Olympian Bob Kennedy was the meet’s first boys winner.

Michigan swept the girls and boys team titles last year.

Weather will be a factor on race day. High winds and rain are expected.

“I don’t know if we’re going to set any records,” Charske said. “It’s going to be windy and the course is going to get even wetter. It’s a true cross country course, anyway. We go over the river the through the woods.”

31ST MID-EAST CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

When: Saturday

Where: Indian Riffle Park, Kettering

Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)

Teams: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois

Girls race: 11 a.m.

Boys race: 11:30 a.m.

COMPETING TEAMS

Ohio girls: Sophie Carrier (Shaker Heights), Sydney Seymour (Saint Joseph Academy), Elizabeth Sauder (Pettisville), Alexa Jenkowsky (Shaker Heights), Grace Steimle (Grand Valley), Emma Bower (Olentangy Liberty), Perri Bockrath (Alter), Alexis Cunningham (East Palenstine), Leah Roter (Beechwood), Claire Steigerwald (Gahanna Lincoln), Madelyn Frey (Colerain), Jenna Kill (Sylvania Northview). Coach: Jessie Magoto (Minster).

Ohio boys: Zach Applegate (Bowling Green), Nate Kawelec (Chardon), Nate Cousino (Toledo Whitmer), Joe Spitzer (Versailles), Cameron Stark (Liberty Center), Peter Dauenhauer (Cin. St. Xavier), Jack Good (Hudson), Abel Nijakowski (Mason), Noah Richmond (Fairfield Leesburg), Chandler Wilhelm (Heath), Max Pettit (Greenon), Karl Grossman (Carroll). Coach: Jim Weckesser (Beavercreek).

Illinois girls: Madison Marasco (Schaumburg), Audrey Ernst (Saint Charles North), Alyssa Edwards (Yorkville), Nora Tucker (Libertyville), Mikalya Olson (Prospect), Abby Flammersfeld (Oswego East), Kendra Standish (Oswego East), Alexis Opperman (Buffalo Grove), Angelica Leal (Minooka), Emily Ellis (Minooka), Keara Ginell (Neuqua Valley), Abby Gamble (Lincoln Way Central). Coach: Jim Milner.

Illinois boys: Matthew Richtman (Kaneland), Jacob Gebhardt (Sterling), Spencer Smith (Rock Island Alleman), Omar Paramo (Plainfield North), Matt Blanco (Oswego East), Stephen Poorten (Sycamore), Brandon Nelson (Oswego), Joe Fioresi (Oswego), Mitchell Bradford (Oswego), Kolton Dunkelbarger (Pekin Community), Daniel Cervantes (Lindblom Math and Science Academy). Coach: Jim Milner.

Indiana girls: Tyler Schwartz (DeKalb), Logan Ferngren (Valparaiso), Margo Hornocker (Oak Hill), Natalie Graber (Barr-Reeve), Lauren Beckmann (DeKalb), Abi Little (Noblesville), Hannah Wylie (Crown Point), Jenna Barker (Seton Catholic), Maddie Lougherty (Lawrence North), Margaret Falater (Carroll Fort Wayne), Leah Metzger (Carroll Fort Wayne), Christina Magers (Pendleton Heights). Coach: Jay White (Portage).

Indiana boys: Jakob Kintzele (Chesterton), Richmond Stoltzfus (Westview), William Persin (McCutcheon), Connor Goetz (Carroll Fort Wayne), Evan Sorenson (Evansville Central), Isaiah Robyne (West Lafayette), Noah Hufnagel (Heritage Hills), Michael Crook (Southport), Leo Simpson (Tell City), Adam Babillis (Evansville Mater Dei), Ian Hunter (North Central Indianapolis), Alec Fleming (Lowell). Coach: Jay White (Portage).

Michigan girls: Lynsey Amthor (Heritage), Olivia Clymer (Lakeland), Camryn Gabriel (Rockford), Lucy Karpukhno (Benzie Central), Rachel Kempf )Heritage), Courtney Krupp (new Lothrop), Rachel McCardell (Birmingham Seaholm), Bailley McConnell (Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart), Maija Rettelle (H.H. Dow), Emily Rooney (Birmingham Seaholm), Samantha Saenz (Concord), Katie Vitou (DeWitt). Coach: Takashi Gould (Ann Arbor Skyline).

Michigan boys: Abdi Ahmed (Forest Hills Northern), Shuaib Aljabaly (Coldwater), Dayton Brown (Rockford), Chris Davis (Fowlerville), Dillan Haviland (St. Johns), Landon Melling (Hanover-Horton), Reid Parsons (Comstock Park), Austin Remick (Rochester), Carlee Stimpfel (Cass City), Drew Wenger (Lakeland), Fraser Wilson (Kenton City), Michael Zedan (New Baltimore Anchor Bay). Coach: Takashi Gould (Ann Arbor Skyline).

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