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


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.”

»SEE RACE, ROSTERS INFO BELOW

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.”

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