FILE PHOTO BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton seniors Evan Hodkinson, left, and Mitchell Kutz at a cross country meet earlier this season. The pair advanced to the state competition Nov. 7.
DGKN staff report
Dalton High School senior Mitchell Kutz’s goal for the state meet last weekend was to place in the Top 25.
He did just that.
Kutz came in 21st place with a time of 16:24.2.
Both he and fellow Dalton senior Evan Hodkinson ran Saturday at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state cross country championship. The runners are familiar with competing at the state level. In 2018, Kutz and his brother, Mason, who graduated this past year, made history. For the first time, two Dalton boys advanced to state in the same year — and it was notable that they were brothers. In 2019, Kutz and Hodkinson ran in the 4×800 meter relay at the state meet with Mason Kutz and Luke Greer. In Fall 2019, the Kutz brothers and Hodkinson qualified for state individually along with the boys team.
On Saturday, Hodkinson came in 109th place with a time of 17:28.5. There were 183 runners competing in Division III.
“It means a lot for me to represent Dalton at the state meet,” Kutz wrote in an email before the meet. “Coming from a small school into a big event like this makes me really appreciate all that the school, my coach, and teammates have done for me to bring me to where I am.”
Both of Dalton’s girls and boys cross country teams set records this year by receiving the Wayne County Athletic League titles the same season. The girls also were named district champs.
Not only was Kutz’s goal for the state meet to place in the top 25, but he also aimed “to enjoy the experience of being at the state meet, even if it will look different this year.”
He noted that the pandemic changed this season’s meets a lot with start lines looking different, and restrictions for spectators have been hard to adjust to this year, he wrote.
“I enjoy being around my teammates at practices,” Kutz wrote. “The social aspect to the sport is one of the main reasons that I enjoy cross country so much. Running can be so intense and demanding, so it’s nice to be able to have fun at practice too.”