The Coaches Classic cross country meet, featuring more than 2,500 runners from around the state, takes place Saturday at Clemson Research Park. The largest cross country event of the year in South Carolina, run on the state championship meet course, annually serves as an early-season measuring stick on for the top teams in all classifications.
The Midlands focus will be on the Ridge View boys team, which is currently No. 1 in Class 4A in the latest SCTCCCA rankings.
The Blazers have already had a strong showing at a feature event – finishing fourth at the Providence Invitational in Charlotte on Aug. 29. Brian Rosefield’s highly regarded team had the second-best showing by a South Carolina team – finishing five points and one place in the final standing behind Hilton Head, the No. 1 team in 3A.
Juniors David Jennings and Joe Keitt led the way in the season opener with national elite times. Jennings finished in fifth place (16:19) and Keitt was sixth (16:28). The front runners had solid support from junior Raeven Lantz (18th, 16:54), junior Jay Lynch (52nd, 17:45) and eighth-grader Mike Lantz (60th, 17:53).
Jennings and Keitt was the RV leaders a year ago when the team finish third behind champion Dorman and runner-up Fort Mill at the 2008 4A state finals. Lynch is another returning starter.