(Photo courtesy of: @creekxc)
Ohio's weekend of cross country action got started in a big way on Friday afternoon with a collection of the state's best teams venturing over to Michigan to test themselves at one of the region's deepest annual meets, the MSU Spartan Invitational.
A men's college 8k, a women's college 6k and a variety of high school 5k races, including the featured Spartan Elite events, were contested at Forest Akers East XC Course in East Lansing.
In girls' action, Beavercreek suited up a full varsity squad for the first time this season and lived up to their top billing in the OATCCC poll and their MileSplit50 No. 6 status by pocketing first place with 86 points.
Beavercreek placed four runners in the overall top 10, led by Taylor Ewert's runner-up effort in 17:17.20. Following Ewert was Savannah Roark (7th - 17:56.20), Jodie Pierce (9th - 18:01.50) and Juliann Williams (10th - 18:23.30). Rounding out the scoring was a key contribution from sophomore Grace Dailey, who finished 69th in a personal best time of 20:18.70.
A pair of other Ohio-based teams notched top 5 results, with Hilliard Davidson and Centerville checking-in at third and fourth, respectively with 132 and 154 point totals. Both squads narrowly trailed the highly touted group from East Grand Rapids (MileSplit50 No. 25) and placed ahead of the MileSplit50 No. 19 team from Ann Arbor Pioneer.
Individually, Lindsay Stull led the way for Hilliard Davidson by crossing the line 13th in 18:27.10 while Emma Bucher was Centerville's top finisher with a 18:25.60 effort for 11th in the standings.
On the boy's side, it was an Ohio heavy team leaderboard by the end of things with four state-based squads earning top 10 placements:
- Beavercreek -- 4th (223 points)
- Hilliard Davidson -- 6th (270 points)
- Thomas Worthington -- 8th (350 points)
- Whitmer -- 10th (372 points)
Individually-speaking, one of the day's highlights was Mhalicki Bronson's first place finish against an ultra-deep field that included MileSplit50 No. 8 ranked Evan Bishop (East Grand Rapids), as well as the dynamic Dearborn Divine Child sibling duo of Anthony Hancock and Michael Hancock, who occupy the third and fourth positions in Michigan's 5k rankings.
Bronson, a senior from Defiance, went 15:37.50 for the victory. Bishop earned runner-up honors in 15:39.60 and Anthony and Michael took fourth and fifth, respectively with times of 15:50.70 and 15:55.50. Also of note, 2018 Foot Locker Nationals veteran, Zach Stewart (Brighton, MI) put a seventh place performance on the board with his time of 16:10.10.
In addidion to Bronson, other Ohioans in the top 10 included Zubin Jha and Elliott Cook, who finished eighth and ninth. Thomas Worthington's Jha clocked 16:10.50 and Cook, out of Dublin Jerome, crossed the line in 16:16.20.
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