The Boardman Spartans boys cross country won the OHSAA NEO Regional Championship on Saturday, Oct. 26 and are returning as a team to the state championship for the first time since 1990.
The team was led by senior Mark Hadley, who took first overall and set a new regional championship record with a time of 15:22. He was followed by senior Alan Burns in seventh place overall in a time of 16:05. Next was sophomore Nathan Hadley in 19th place in a time of 16:39. They were followed by senior Justin Maroni in 34th place in a time of 16:53 and rounding out the scoring spots was senior Jacob Kelleck in 46th place in a time of 17:04.
"I am so proud of this team and so happy for this senior class," said Spartans head coach John Phillips. "They have worked so hard this year and the past four years for this and today was very special."
Photos by Jim McCreary, Town Crier correspondent
Senior Mark Hadley crosses the finish line at the OHSAA Regional Cross Country meet in first place with a regional race record time of 15:22.50. Hadley's closest competitor was 8.5 seconds behind.
The Spartans were aided by a legion of students and alumni that tailgated prior to the meet and came out in droves to cheer on the team.
"It was amazing to have so many students and alumni there to cheer for us," explained Phillips, "Huge thanks to our Assistant Athletic Director Nick Hewko for organizing the student tailgate. He did a great job and we are very appreciative."
The Spartans will run at 3 p.m. Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron seeking the school's first state championship in cross country.
"Our team is going there to win and will represent our program, school, and community very well on Saturday," said Phillips.
The team will receive a clap out from BHS students about 8:30 a.m. Friday before proceeding to a police and fire escort as they leave from the teachers' parking lot around 9 a.m.