MEDINA — Six of the seven Medina County schools will compete Saturday at the 21st annual Medina Cross Country Festival at Ella Canavan Elementary School.
The event has special significance to the host Bees.
“This is our home course and we need to defend our turf,” boys coach Milt Place said.
Place said the course is fan friendly and usually draws a pretty good crowd.
“It’s a nice course,” he said. “It’s a good spectator course. I’ve had some people tell me that they like to come out and watch because they can just walk a few steps and see a lot of what’s going on.”
The Medina Festival is broken into two races. One is for Division I schools, while the other has runners from Divisions II and III.
The meet kicks off at 10 a.m. with the Division I girls race. The D-I boys start at 10:35 a.m., the D-II and D-III girls go at 12:15 p.m. and the D-II and D-III boys will run at 12:50.
Place said he is pleased with how his team has progressed this season.
“We’re doing a lot better than people thought we were supposed to do,” he said. “A lot of people counted us out because of what we lost from last year.”
Medina’s girls won the D-I event last season. Maria Scavuzzo, now a junior, is the Bees’ top returner. She placed 14th in 20:56 last season.
The Medina boys placed second in 2011. Ian McKee makes his return after finishing 15th in 17:41. Tommy Menyes is also back and looks to improve on his 18th-place effort.
Highland’s Stuart Arbuckle is one to watch. He just missed making the top 20 last season with an 18:00 run that was good for 22nd place.
In the D-II and D-III boys race, the heavy favorite is Buckeye’s Ryan Gallagher. The senior has dominated this season and will try to help the Bucks improve on a fourth-place team finish from last year. Gallagher was second in 2011 in 17:25.
Buckeye teammate J.J. Grzincic is also having a great season and would likely be the top runner on most teams. Instead he’s been running behind Gallagher but finishing among the leaders each week. He was 11th in 18:22 last season.
Black River’s Gus Kazek, who is putting together a strong senior season, was sixth (18:05) in last season’s race.
The Brunswick boys and girls will run at the Maplewood Legends Meet on Saturday at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds. Last year the Blue Devils won the girls meet and finished second in the boys race. Both will be expected to fair well this weekend although some pieces from last year are gone.
Freshman Vanessa Pasadyn replaces her sister Selena, who graduated and is now running cross country at Harvard University, as Brunswick’s top runner on the girls side. Juniors Kristine Camper and Tara Horton and sophomores Emily LaPolla and Hannah Meyer are back with experience running in last season’s Legends Meet. All four finished in the top 30 last year, with Camper leading the returners with a sixth-place effort in 19:54.
Senior Tyler Menear is the top returner for the boys. He ran a 16:53 last year and finished fifth.
Former Brunswick standout Marc Hunter, a Medina County Sports Hall of Fame inductee, will be on hand to meet runners and coaches, sign autographs and to pass out awards.
Contact Eric Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.