Plentiful area runners on Team Ohio

The largest field of area runners in the history of the Mid-East Cross Country Championships will be among a standout gathering of state champions and high state placers in Saturday’s annual meet at Indian Riffle Park in Kettering.

Five area girls and four boys will be running for Team Ohio in the 5-K race on the course located around the Kettering Rec Center. Competing for the girls Team Ohio will be Centerville teammates Taylor Malchow and Lainey Studebaker, Aislinn Fitzgerald of Beavercreek, Kaci Bornhorst of Minster and Botkins’ Chloe Flora. Area boys committed to Team Ohio are Tippecanoe’s Mitchell Poynter, Troy’s Stephen Jones, Newton’s Brady McBride and Logan Griffith of Springfield Shawnee.

Coaching Team Ohio girls will be Centerville coach Dave Dobson. Centerville successfully defended its girls Division I state team title earlier this month at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. Studebaker is a two-time D-I state individual champion and signed a National Letter of Intent to run at Ohio State University on Wednesday.

Other states bringing girls and boys teams to run are Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. All the competitors are seniors. Scoring is similar to traditional cross country racing, but also includes runners 6-7.

Ohio is the defending girls team champion and Indiana the boys team champion. Indiana also was the combined boys/girls champion in 2014.

The last area runners to win as individuals were Troy’s Levi Fox and Brittany Tinsley of Indian Lake, both of whom won in 2004. Top area placers last year were Sarah Kanney of Coldwater (fourth) and J.T. Mackay of Northmont (16th).

The Mid-East CCC made its debut at Kettering in 1987. Future Olympian Bob Kennedy was the first boys winner.

The course is spectator-friendly with runners returning to key points in the 3.1-mile race. Sponsors are the Dorwood Optimists, Hind Athletic Clothing, City of Kettering and the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches along with the Greater Dayton Track and Cross Country Officials Association.

The girls will race at 11 a.m. and the boys at 11:30. An awards ceremony will be held at the Rec Center at 12:30. Teams will stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Dayton.

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