The Mid-East Cross Country Championships produced two new course records Saturday as the competitors ran in near perfect weather. Mike Fout (IN) ran away from Maverick Darling (MI) in the final 300 meters of the race to win in 14:59. Ohio won the team race by ten over Michigan. In the girls race Claire Durkin destroyed the field by forty seconds, with Michigan scoring a three point win over Ohio.
MileSplit Coverage: Mid-East Cross Country Championships
Report from correspondent Matt Sheehan
Michigan's Maverick Darling tried to make a statement early Saturday in the boys race, breaking open a small lead in the first mile as he blazed through the mark in 4:35. Indiana's Mike Fout trailed Darling by five seconds, as the two pulled away from the field during the second mile. At two miles Fout sat on Darling's shoulder, seemingly biding his time until he took off. As the two crossed the creek with 300 meters to go Fout took off, gapping Darling immediately. Fout crossed the finish line in 14:59 to set a course record, while Darling finished a strong second in 15:05. Mark Dennin of Pennsylvania finished third in 15:22.
Ohio beat Michigan by a 41-51 margin, pulling off an upset of sorts. Michigan and third place Indiana (56 points) were considered the two favorites with both squads bringing very talented individuals along. However, Ohio's depth proved strong as the home team pulled away over the last half mile of the race. Pennsylvania finished fourth, Illinois fifth and Kentucky sixth to round out the field.
Team Scores: Ohio 41, Michigan 51, Indiana 56, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky
Top Three Finishers: Mike Fout (IN) 14:59, Maverick Darling (MI) 15:05, Mark Dennin (PA) 15:22
Claire Durkin's statement to the nation Saturday seemed to be "Here I am!" The Ohio senior proved her strength as she decimated a talented field by forty seconds. Durkin's winning time of 17:24 beat the previous course record by eleven seconds. Her fast start and continued push impressed everyone in attendance.
Caitlin Comfort of Illinois finished a strong second, finishing with a time of 18:08. One of the pre-race favorites, Alex Banfich of Indiana, started very strong in the race, fading to eighteenth overall. A repeat performance like that next week means she won't be making another trip to Foot Locker Nationals.
Michigan and Ohio created a spectacular team finish, with Michigan beating Ohio 40-43. The two teams battled and no one knew who the winner was as the athletes started crossing the finish. In the end Michigan's depth paid off with the team title. Indiana finished third with 69 points, while Pennsylvania, Illinois and Kentucky completed the results.
Team Scores: Michigan 40, Ohio 43, Indiana 69, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky
Top Two Finishers: Claire Durkin (OH) 17:24, Caitlin Comfort (IL) 18:08