Bryn Du Summer Cross Country Series

A dozen kids from Utica made their way around a short section of the field Thursday at the Bryn Du Mansion, sprinting across the finish line on the hill in front of the entrance.

It was just a quick 350-meter jaunt, but for some it might lead to a life of running. Or maybe it was just an opportunity to earn a ribbon and have fun with family and friends on a July evening.

“It’s a good start. This is their first race, so we want to see them improve obviously,”said Utica junior Sarah Epps, who led the runners from the Redskin Running Club in pre-race and post-race stretching. “Most of our Redskin runners who became high schoolers are still running to this day.”

Epps’ pupils ran the fun run as a part of the Bryn Du Summer Cross Country Series with the annual 3K following. Organizers Matt McGowan and Tom Wagonseller, who started the series two decades ago with five races during the summer, decided to do one more after considering to being done in 2022.

A month from now Utica seventh grader Cody Baker will run his first twomile race. On Thursday, he was just 200 meters short of it, finishing in a time of 12:45.06 after slowing up down the stretch to help his friend Kaylee Linger finish strong.

“I have been running for10 years. I am hoping to break the middle school record, which is an11:45 set by (Andrew Bebout) last year,” Baker said. “It’s going to be hard competition with Sam Krueger and Jaxson Hampshire. We only have three runners on the middle school team. We won’t qualify for state, but we could still try to make it if we get more runners.”

Watkins Memorial sophomore Trevor Mettle also has a big goal for the fall, and he appears to already be well on his way to achieving it. Mettle ran a time of 9:56.87 to place 15th. 

Mettle and his Watkins teammates have been up not long after dawn to train throughout the summer. A short race was a welcome change of pace from the distance training of the morning.

“It feels good to race against other people and get thrill of the race with the other good guys here, especially going up that big hill,” Mettle said. “My biggest goal right now is to get into the 16s for 5K. My best last year was18:20. We have a good amount of faster guys. All of us should be in the 17s for varsity.”

Runners from the Lancaster and Marysville cross country teams took the first 14 places ahead of Mettle, as Lancaster’s Wes Taylor at 8:49.11 and Zane Schorr at 8:49.33 crossed first and second, respectively. Marysville’s Bailey Gross, 28th at 10:45.38, was the top female and Jerame Davies, 37th at 11:32.32, was the top masters male.

The Utica middle school team will not have the gaggle of runners Lancaster did on Thursday, but Baker might be a trendsetter. As evidenced by the Redskin Running Club, more are on the way.

“The high schoolers get a chance to remember how fun it was when they were that age just starting out,” Baker said. “It’s still fun. It’s just like a family to be on the team.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 McGowan said “After 60 races and twenty years we hope someone or group will step forward and continue this summer event, please contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Advocate pictures - Bryn Du Summer Cross Country 3K 2023

More photos - https://www.runohio.com/index.php/photos/2023/view-album/tag-2023_Bryn_Du