Weather drier for XC postseason

My eyes deceive me. I really can’t believe what I’m seeing on my laptop. These AccuWeather forecasts are wrong.

It’s the cross country postseason. Rain, cold, mud. Repeat three early and often.

This year, not so much. I’m confused by the 72-degree forecast for Saturday’s district meet at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.

No winter boots this year with the mud splashing on my jeans. One more time to wear shorts? Maybe. Glad I won’t have bring another pair of socks to replace the ones saturated by the mud pit that soon becomes the Trumbull County Fairgrounds. Not this year.

Same with the late October regionals at Boardman High School, and the state meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. High temperatures in the mid 50s both days. No rain. Thank goodness.

I’m sure the area athletes competing all three weeks feel the same.

Faster times at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds. It happened two weeks ago at The Legends. McDonald’s Malina Mitchell ran near 19 minutes. Badger’s Miranda Stanhope and McDonald’s Anna Guerra ran 30 seconds slower. Good bet these are your top three at districts. The only water dripping off these three is likely sweat, not rain.

These three are likely to finish top 15 at state in Division III, but taking the top spot in the team standings may belong to McDonald. The Blue Devils girls have won about every meet they’ve entered and district and regional competition may be no different.

The top four of Mitchell, Guerra, Sela Jones and Bella Wolford are as tough as any team in the state, but there’s one team standing between McDonald and its second state championship. The first one came in 2014. It’s Minster, the seven-time state champion team that most competitors only see as blonde braids in front of them. Minster has been atop the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches State Poll all season with McDonald second.

Dry day, flat track, let’s see who finishes first.

Now McDonald and Maplewood boys have been among the top 10 all season in Division III. Both have a possibility of making state. With seven state titles for each school, their lineage says overcoming odds is in their favor.

The two best individual boys runners come from different divisions.

Howland’s Vincent Mauri is the best in the area. He’s the two-time Trumbull County champion and has made headway in Division I.

Dry weather should help him reach state in the fastest division in Ohio.

The other is Garfield’s Tyler Klouda, a gutsy runner in his own right. He could be the runner to beat the next couple of weeks at districts and is in the top three at regionals. How will he do at state? Another top-10 finish for sure.

Klouda’s season started on a late Saturday meet in August, a warm Billy Goat Challenge in McDonald. He, like many other runners, begin their postseason journey at a warm district at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.

Me, like many other spectators, are grateful, not cursing Mother Nature.

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