Just two years after James Martin and Brad Hess represented Team Indiana at the Mid-East Cross Country Championships, there is another Carroll duo preparing to race in the high school all-star cross country meet.
This Saturday Jonathon Harper and Alexander Hess will compete with 10 other Indiana high school senior boys in the meet at Indian Rifle Park in Kettering, Ohio near Dayton. The meet brings together the top 12 senior boys and girls from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. The meet has been contested each year since 1987.
Harper and Hess are the only area runners on the Indiana team this year.
For all the history of the meet and the actual competition between the states, Harper is like most runners named to the team: he can’t wait to meet his new teammates.
“I’ve talked to a few of them a little at meets or by texting, but I’ve never had a chance to spend some time to get to know them,” Harper said of his fellow all-stars.
For Hess, it’s about tradition.
“I know the meet has been around a long time and a lot of great runners were on the Indiana team and got to run in this race,” Hess said.
But there was another element of tradition for Hess as well.
“I’m excited to do something my brother (Brad) did,” Hess said. “I want to follow in his footsteps.”
To do so literally, on Saturday, will be a tall order. In the 2010 meet Martin was fourth and Hess was eighth on a victorious Indiana team which set the meet record of lowest points scored (20). Time elapsed from Indiana’s top runner through it’s seventh (Hess) was a mere five seconds: 15:24-15:29.
“I think it would be fun to run as a pack, like those guys did,” Hess said of the 2010 Indiana team. “They didn’t compete against each other; they ran as a team.”
The girl’s race begins at 11 a.m. with the boy’s race to follow.
* Editor’s note: Alexander Hess is the son of the writer.