"It was a bittersweet day, Mark had a great race -- best a Boardman runner has done in years -- and our team was able to finish ahead of the schools in our league and district," said Spartan head coach John Phillips, "but one of our top five guys went down during the race and as a team we went from a potential top five finish to 13th. The important thing is that it looks like he will be ok and we know if we are all healthy, we can have a great post-season."
Setting a personal best at the Spartan Invitational were seniors Jacob Whitford and Tom Hays at 18:14 and 20:33 respectively. Junior Rick Henneman at 19:11, sophomores Trevor Leyden at 19:17, Steve Brown at 20:22, Johnny Metzger at 23:20, and Devin DiPiero at 24:36. Freshmen setting new personal bests were Nick Long at 19:05 and Josh Botak at 19:24.
Also setting a new personal best was sophomore Jacob Kelleck at 18:23. Kelleck's performance at both Brookfield and Boardman earned him this week's Runner of the Week award.
More than 4,700 runners registered in one of the largest fields ever run at the meet. Fourteen races took place with 122 high school boys and girls teams and 66 schools in both the girls and boys middle school races.
Meet Director Denise Gorski said, “This truly is a total team effort as fellow Boardman track and cross country coaches Dave Pavlansky, John Phillips, Katie Cretella and Jaclyn DiSibio all help to coordinate the event. Their help for weeks before the day of the meet and the assistance given by our teams and parents on race day is crucial to the success of the meet. We also have great support from Jean Armstrong, Gail Walsh, Dave Smercansky and Nick Hewko in the athletic office; the maintenance department, especially Nick Castaldi who worked constantly on the course with Pavlansky; Boardman staff personnel who volunteer on race day, and the professional officials who work the meet.”
Gorski also praised the assistance of Former BHS athletic director Jim Fox stating, “Jim retired from the Boardman schools 10 years ago and yet he still continues to support the meet and our programs. He is in charge of the officials but still does so many little things behind the scenes. His help is simply invaluable.”
Photos by Jim McCreary, Town Crier correspondent
Boardman's Alan Burns pushes hard to hold off Santo Belle of Cathedral Prep and place 35th of 245 runners with a time of 16:58.27 at last weekend's 26th Annual Spartan Cross Country Invitational.