At the Midwest Meet of Champions on Saturday at Hilliard Darby High School, some of the top boys and girls cross country teams from around the state will get a chance to get an early read on the competition they could expect to see at the end of the year.

At the Midwest Meet of Champions on Saturday at Hilliard Darby High School, some of the top boys and girls cross country teams from around the state will get a chance to get an early read on the competition they could expect to see at the end of the year.

The eighth-annual event will feature 15 boys and 17 girls teams. Known for a fast course and warm weather, it has drawn top teams from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

The course, which winds around Darby's athletic complex, should be fast again given there are few hills, but the weather this year shouldn't be as hot. As chief organizer, coach Jon Agriesti decided to move the meet to a later date than usual.

"We moved it back three weeks because of weather conditions," he said. "It was always really hot and we also tried to open it up to a few more teams in Ohio."

The change in date also led to a field that will not include Fishers (Ind.), last year's boys team champion. Every team in the boys field this year is from Ohio, and four are in the top 10 in the Division I state poll.

Top-ranked Mason will be there as well as third-ranked Toledo St. John's, sixth-ranked Brecksville-Broadview Heights and eighth-ranked Reynoldsburg. Agriesti said Mason's Zach Wills is one of the favorites to win the race. Wills leads a Mason team that returns six runners after taking sixth in the state meet last year. Wills, a sophomore, was fourth (15 minutes, 32.96 seconds).

Davidson's Yoshi Shimizu should be among the top local runners. Shimizu was second (16:57.97) at the Tiger Invitational last Saturday at Pickerington Central as Gahanna's Chase Beckman (16:51.4) won. Davidson took five of the top seven spots to score 24 points and win the event ahead of runner up Gahanna (62).

Jay McKenna and Denton Thompson have been Darby's top runners. Last Saturday McKenna was 17th (16:29.24) at the Strongsville Invitational and Thompson was 33rd (16:43.33).

Other boys teams scheduled to compete are Akron St. Vincent St. Mary's, Brunswick, Cincinnati Anderson, Cincinnati LaSalle, Cuyahoga Falls, Green, Hudson and Vandalia Butler.

•Davidson girls coach Emily Holliday sees the competition at the Midwest Meet of Champions as an opportunity for her team's top runner to be tested.

Tori Brink has won every race this season except one, including last Saturday at the Lodi Cloverleaf Invitational. There she ran a 18:59.14 as Davidson scored 95 points to finish behind North Canton Hoover (44) and Stow-Munroe Falls (79).

At the Tiffin Carnival on Sept. 6, Brink was second (18:31.88) with no one near her. North Royalton's Hannah Neczypor was well ahead in first, finishing in 17:50.41 and Brink was well ahead of Rocky River Magnificat's Madeline Chambers (18:39.19). As a team Davidson scored 235 points to finish eighth to champion Magnificat (77).

"We actually have not gone to super competitive meets except for Tiffin," Holliday said. "(The Midwest Meet of Champions is) exciting because we get to show we can run with these teams and there will be more girls up the front to push Tori. I'm looking for her to have some competition."

Magnificat, which is the top-ranked girls team in the Division I state poll and last year's Midwest champion, will be among the teams to compete Saturday. The Blue Streaks returned five runners to a team that was the Division I state runner-up last year, led by Chambers, who was eighth individually.

Darby is led by Linley Mescher, who was 15th (19:54.88) in the Strongsville Invitational last Saturday as the Panthers scored 324 points to finish 11th to champion Medina (84).

"We want to compete at this meet year in and year out," Darby coach Don Seymour said. "To be able to compete at this level, typically your program needs to establish itself as one of the better programs in the state, which is where we want to be. The team knows what to expect, and will be prepared to do their best."

Highlighting the girls field are four teams ranked in the top 10 in the Division I state poll, following Magnificat is third-ranked Mason, fifth-ranked Cincinnati Colerain and seventh-ranked Cincinnati St. Ursula.

The field also includes Akron St. Vincent St. Mary's, which is ranked fifth in Division II and New Albany. Clarkston (Mich.) also is scheduled be there.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Darby and Davidson boys and girls cross country teams:

DARBY

Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished seventh (219) to champion Reynoldsburg (88) in Strongsville Second Sole Invitational; Girls: Finished 11th (324) to champion Medina (84)

Saturday -- Home for Midwest Meet of Champions

Oct. 4 -- Boys: At Legends Invitational at Trumbull County Fairgrounds

DAVIDSON

Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished first (24) ahead of runner up Gahanna (62) at Tiger Invitational at Pickerington Central; Girls: Finished third (95) to champion North Canton Hoover (44) at Lodi Cloverleaf Invitational

Saturday --At Midwest Meet of Champions

Oct. 4 -- Boys: At Medina Invitational; Girls: At Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington