The 27th annual running of the Boardman Spartan Cross Country Invitational meet took place on Saturday, Sept. 15 with the largest field ever in the history of the meet. Race Director Denise Gorski reported there were 4,343 runners competing on race day from a record 132 schools competing in the high school divisions and 72 competing in the middle school races. Each 5K race was comprised of between 300 and 400 competitors with the largest race of the day being the boys Division I JV race with 713 competitors. The race showcased talent from not only Ohio, but many Pennsylvania schools as well as one from West Virginia this year.
The meet is one of four regional sites in the state. Former coach and Boardman Athletic Director Jim Fox is responsible for the Spartan Invitational becoming the premier event in the country for a high school invitational.
Gorski said the meet could not be held if it weren't for the assistance of past and present cross country parents and volunteers. The community wide event is supported by local businesses with Merrill Lynch as the main sponsor. Race Director Denise Gorski commented, "It is also a great event for our community as our restaurants and hotels benefit greatly from the large number of schools competing and the over 12,000 spectators who come on race day to watch."
Sophomore Jordan Grantonic runs a 6:32.0 pace to finish in 24th place out of 236 runners in the Division I varsity girls race with a total time of 20:17.62.
The Boardman Spartans boys cross country team was the first place finishing team in Ohio and finished in second place overall. The North Allegheny, Pa., Tigers were the overall first place finisher with 93 points to Boardman's 156.
Boardman junior Mark Hadley ran the 5K race in 15:45.13, just six seconds off the leader.
It was estimated by Boardman's coach John Phillips that this is the best the boys team has done in the history of the meet.