The state cross country meet will return to Columbus this fall after almost a decade, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced April 29.

The meet will be held Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz, a 50-acre complex that opened in 2017 and seats 6,500. It plays host to several high school football games each season and was the home of Major League Lacrosse’s Ohio Machine before the franchise was contracted last year.

According to OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass, most of the course will be visible from the grandstand. It will be the site of the meet through at least 2024.

National Trail Raceway near Hebron had played host to the meet since 2011.

The meet had been held at Scioto Downs from 1985-2010 but was moved in July 2011 after Scioto Downs added a casino. At the time, former OHSAA executive director Dan Ross said the meet would not be held in an environment that included gambling.

“We can’t wait for our student-athletes and Ohio’s entire cross country community to experience the state championships at Fortress Obetz,” Snodgrass said in a statement. “This facility is so impressive, from the course layout for the competitors to being more spectator-friendly for the fans and we are thrilled to sign a five-year agreement.

“We would like to thank National Trail Raceway for hosting the state championships for the last nine years and doing an outstanding job as our host.”

Fortress Obetz also will play host to the OHSAA Early Season Invitational in August.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave