Tribune Chronicle: Venue Change (NE Regionals Location)

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The following article was published in the Oct. 14, 2008 edition of the Tribune Chronicle by John Vargo (jvargo@tribtoday.com).

Boardman has hosted the northeast regional cross country tournament since 1991.

After the downpour at the Sept. 13 Spartan Invitational, people in the cross country community wondered if Boardman would host the regional.

The 3.1-mile course was quite muddy and the course was still feeling the after affects. Grass hasn't grown in a few spots on the course, despite the best efforts of tournament director Jim Fox and his crew at Boardman.

It wasn't satisfactory to some coaches and some were concerned of the safety of their runners, according to the complaints vented on a certain Ohio prep Web site.

Fox recommended the regional championship be moved for this season. Monday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association agreed as they awarded GlenOak High School near Canton this year's meet.

"The major thing was the condition of our course," Fox said. "We have spent the last three weeks trying to revive the course to compete at the regional level. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us. We could've used more rain. We put more than 1,000 pounds of (grass) seed down to repair the damage to the course.

"On Sept. 13 we sustained a lot of damage to the course during the Spartan Invitational. We brought in a review team, a representative of the OHSAA, area coaches and we walked the course. The best recommendation we could get to the OHSAA was to change the site."

Fox wanted to give the OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Steve Neil kudos for his help. Neil is in charge of cross country for the OHSAA.

Neil could not be reached for comment.

"Pat on the back to the OHSAA. We've been in constant communication with Steve," Fox said. "He's been tremendous to work with trying to find a solution to this problem and to eliminate uncertainty that would be out there."

There were plenty of options available besides GlenOak.

"We considered several options," Fox said. "We wanted somewhere that would be very convenient, course-friendly and have the experience of hosting meets of a similar size. They have the full capabilities of fan viewing, except for a part back in the woods."

Maplewood coach Ted Rupe, whose input was given on the current condition of the course, said Fox and Boardman boys cross country coach Dave Pavlansky made a decision in the best interest of all runners concerned.

"It's what's best for the kids," Rupe said.

Fox is still the regional manager and will have his entire officiating crew with him down at GlenOak.

"The only difference will be the site location," Fox said. "All officials who are under contract have been notified about the site change and location. GlenOak has a great support staff and they will work hand-in-hand with our crew of officials."

The GlenOak course does not have the undulations of the Boardman course, but the grassy course runs around the Golden Eagles' High School campus.

"It's a beautiful layout," Fox said. "You can almost see everything, except the back portion that is the wooded section. You pass by the stadium three times and finish on the 50-yard line of the turf field."

The 2009 regional site is an unknown.

"Regionals are always on a year-to-year basis," Fox said. "Schools apply to the OHSAA and are assigned regional site. The site stability of knowing where it's going to be gives the opportunity to get on the course prior to the competition."

As of now, the move to GlenOak is seen as temporary and Boardman will bid to get the regional back in the area.

"I think Boardman is what's best for the kids down the road. I hope we can get it back there," Rupe said.


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