The Meet of Champions at Masterson Station has always held a special place in my heart. As I made my way to the meet on a cold, cloudy October morning, the memories of my own Meet of Champions experiences came back. What I realized most on this day was that for many athletes, as is the case for myself, the way he or she remembers their state meet is not by the place they came in, but by the experiences they had before, during, and after the event. Yes, the race is run to determine who the fastest individual is within the different age groups and there is a single “Champion” in that regard. But this “Meet of Champions” is a gathering of the many young men and women who have spent many weeks of hard to reach whatever goals they had set before them. So here’s to all the “Champions” of this Middle School Cross-County season.
The first race of the day saw Nina Walker, a 5th grader at Goshen Elementary, out-pace several of her elder competitors to take home the victory, covering the 3000m course in a time of 11:48. As I mentioned, Nina was not always leading the pack and after the initial loop on the soccer fields, she was in about 4th place. Her bright green and yellow jersey was not hard to miss, however, as she worked her way up the pack and with a half mile to go, it was a fore drawn conclusion as to who would cross the line first. Holding their own behind Nina was Rebekah Howards of Glasgow and Makenzie Cooper of Foley. They were part of the pack that jumped out front early and the two young ladies battled the whole way. In the end, it took a late surge and a lean from Howards to edge Cooper both finishing in a time of 11:56, but Howards just milliseconds before. Goshen also took home the top team honors with a very impressive score of 90. Dunn was second with 205 points nad Holy Spirit was third with 233. (NOTE: These team scores are currently unofficial and what I have reported was what was posted at the time. They may differ from the final results)
The boy’s race shook out a little bit differently than the girls race prior. As opposed to a paced effort, this race was a dual from the start with both Jonah Mitchell of Muhlenberg Co. and Wes Grogan of Heath clearly gunning for the win. Both came in as favorites to win and to provide spectators with a good race between the two of them. Coming back from the soccer field portion of the course, it was Mitchell who held a slight lead over Grogan. From the 1-mile point to about 1.5 miles, Grogan held his ground and looked to almost make a push to catch up to Mitchell. Jonah held strong though and once again, coming into the finish area it was no question as to who was in command of the race. Mitchell crossed first in a time of 10:37. Grogan wasn’t too far behind, finishing in a very respectable 10:47 for second place. Connor Hayes of St. Leo came in third with an 11:07. (NOTE: No current official team scores for this race.