The cross country teams from Hilliard Bradley and Hilliard Darby high schools get a chance to test themselves against some of the best teams from across the state on Saturday at the Midwest Meet of Champions at Darby.

The cross country teams from Hilliard Bradley and Hilliard Darby high schools get a chance to test themselves against some of the best teams from across the state on Saturday at the Midwest Meet of Champions at Darby.

The MMOC, which is now in its 10th year, will feature 25 boys teams and 24 girls teams. The field also includes teams from Kentucky and Michigan.

"The Midwest Meet of Champions is probably bigger than the state meet," said, Austin Alpeter, one of Bradley's top runners. "We're going to have a lot of tough individual runners to go against. We're just hoping to show up and fare well against that kind of talent."

Alpeter and Troy Kelleher are the frontrunners for Bradley. Kelleher was ninth (16 minutes, 44.3 seconds) last Saturday at the Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster and Alpeter was 14th (16:55.8) in a field of 109 competitors.

Leading Darby is Landon Erb, who was fourth (16:49) in a field of 49 in the Tiger Division of the Tiger Invitational at Pickerington Central last Saturday. Darby scored 58 points to win the event ahead of Canal Winchester (60).

The MMOC champions race includes a field highlighted by Mason's Zach Wills, a two-time Division I state champion. Wills has won the last two MMOC races and last year set a meet record in 15:02.

Mason, which is ranked seventh in the Division I state poll, is one of 12 teams from Ohio that are ranked. Also competing is second-ranked Medina as well as Cleveland St. Ignatius (fourth) and Reynoldsburg (11th). Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, which is the top-ranked Division II team, also will compete.

"At least 20 guys have run sub-16 (minutes) this season and we could see some very quick times," said Bradley coach Jon Agriesti, the MMOC chief organizer. "Wills has been the heavy favorite the past two years and has to be considered the favorite, having won two cross country titles and a pair of state track titles in his fabulous prep career. But it will not be easy for Zach to win a third MMOC title."

Huntington (W.Va.) Cabell Midland is set to compete with four runners who returned from last year's Class AAA state championship team.

Highlighting the girls race is top-ranked Rocky River Magificat and second-ranked Mason. Magnificat dominated the state meet last season, scoring 28 points with runner-up Springboro totaling 137.

Leading Darby is Taylor Baldridge, who was ninth (21:08) behind Pickerington Central's Kaitlyn Meyer at last Saturday in the Tiger Invitational.

Darby's strength has been the tightness of its pack. Jodi Mescher, Darby's No. 2 runner was 18th (21:41.03) last Saturday and Sara Vermillion, Darby's No. 7 runner was 24th (21:47.75).

Bradley enters Saturday's race led by Lauren McCabe, who was 35th last Saturday at the Bob Reall Invitational (21:48.6) at Lancaster.

•DAVIDSON TRAVELS TO PITTSBURGH: The Davidson boys and girls cross country teams will miss the MMOC this year as the teams compete in the Pittsburgh Central Catholic Invitational.

Davidson girls coach Emily Holiday said the event should offer a chance to run in a different terrain without sacrificing competition.

"I would say the competition is comparable to the Midwest Meet of Champions," Holiday said. "It's a big meet. One of the biggest reasons is that it's a course with a lot of rolling hills. We get a lot of flat courses around here and when you get to the state meet, there's hills."

Last Saturday, Davidson won the Adidas Saturday Night Lights at Centerville, scoring 78 points to place ahead of Cincinnati McAuley (93). Jessica Hoover came in first (18:06.02).

The Davidson boys team is coming off a championship at the Bill Brown Ontario Invitational last Saturday. The Wildcats scored 33 points as New London (97) was second. Leading Davidson was Garrett Knapik, who was third in 17:05. The Wildcats had all five runners place in the top 10.

At a glance

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

BRADLEY

Last Saturday — Boys: Finished seventh (193) at 16-team Bob Reall Invitational behind Westerville North (64); Girls: Finished 15th (412) at 27-team Bob Reall Invitational behind Peninsula Woodridge (95)

Saturday — Midwest Meet of Champions at Darby

DARBY

Last Saturday — Boys: Finished first (58) in seven-team Tiger Division of Pickerington Central Tiger Invitational ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (60); Girls: Finished third (89) in seven-team Tiger Division behind Olentangy (67) and Pickerington North (84)

Saturday — Midwest Meet of Champions at home

DAVIDSON

Last Saturday — Boys: Finished first (33) in 17-team Bill Brown Classic ahead of runner-up New London (97); Girls: Finished first (78) at 14-team Adidas Saturday Night Lights ahead of runner-up Cincinnati McAuley (93)

Saturday — Pittsburgh Central Catholic Invitational