BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – High school athletes from across the region gathered at Boardman High School on Saturday for one of the largest athletic meets in the Midwest.
About 5,700 student athletes competed in the 34th Spartan Cross Country Invitational meet.
“Every high school team, boys and girls, is going to run 5,000 meters, which is a little bit more than three miles. The middle school kids will run a two loop course. That’s exactly two miles,” said organizer Dave Pavlansky.
The course is challenging with hills and little shade, but the races are not the only things that bring athletes and their families back.
“Great weather today, carnival atmosphere, but the meet is run very professionally. A lot of work goes into it. Folks just like to come. It has grown,” said Pavlansky.
The event started in the 1980’s with 12 teams. On Saturday, more than 400 teams took to the field.
In addition to the thousands of students, they were joined by hundreds of volunteers, state officials and medical personnel.
There were also thousands of spectators. Families traveled from around the state to support their students.
“I think it’s a challenging course. It challenges the girls,” said Stacey Tassone from Stow, Ohio.
“Plus, being out here, you’re going against a lot of schools you normally don’t go against. Being so close to Pennsylvania and West Virginia, you get a lot of different [teams] you don’t always see here,” said Shawn Lorentz from Stow.
For more information on the meet, click here.