Howland senior Nathan Sutton has overcome a lot in his high school career. Weight and slow times.
After shedding nearly 60 pounds and more than 7 minutes off of his gait, the Tigers' cross country runner is one of the best in this area.
He and Boardman's Mark Hadley, who won the Division I district at Malone College, finished that meet 1-2 and head into Saturday's Division I regional at Boardman High School as two of the runners to beat.
However, Sutton was not the only Division I runner from Trumbull County to advance to regionals, which is a rare feat in this area.
Sutton's teammate, sophomore Ryan Sullivan, took sixth-place finish at Malone. Both are trying to be the first state qualifiers in Division I from Trumbull County since Niles' Chris Acs did so more than a decade earlier.
The top four teams and top 16 runners advance to state in Divisions I-III.
Sullivan and Sutton are not Howland's only representatives at regionals. Freshman Morgan Buckley, who was this year's Trumbull County champion, also qualified. She has a great future ahead of her at Howland.
The Tigers' youth and quality should make Howland a force in cross country for years to come.
In Division II, it's good to see the Lakeview Bulldogs back at regionals. The Lakeview boys had a couple year run at regional, along with University of Akron runner Heath Harris and Ohio University runner Tyler Ames both making state a couple of years back.
This Saturday, the Bulldogs got back to regionals with a second-place finish at districts.
Staying in Division II, Liberty's Jonathan Richmond needs to run in the 16-minute range to be in the top 16.
Staying in that division, LaBrae sends three runners to regionals - Amanda Richards, Caleb Johnson and Nathan Johnson. And, Girard sent Taylor Harshbarger.
It's great to see teams like Liberty, LaBrae and the Girard girls in the mix with other area teams like Maplewood and McDonald. Here's to continued success for the Vikings, Leopards and Indians.
As for Maplewood and McDonald, it seems both boys and girls teams are poised to make return trips back to the state meet. Maplewood girls and McDonald boys are the favorites in Division III, but look for the Maplewood boys to push the McDonald boys to its upper limits Saturday.
Also in Division III, Mineral Ridge's Dallas Bright made the short list (top eight runners out of district) for Saturday's race. It would be nice to see this Rams' senior make the regional cut and head down to National Trail Raceway in Hebron - site of the state meet.
Congrats to John F. Kennedy's Nicole Rodomsky for making it to regionals. It seems at least one Rodomsky has made regionals for the past couple of seasons. Kudos to a great running family.
Finally, it's nice to see the Badger Braves girls team back at regionals. This is the second straight year the Braves have advanced to Boardman.