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Schmidt Places 7th at State

Posted on: November 2, 2020

Oak Hills had a fantastic weekend at the cross country state championship on Saturday.  James Schmidt raced against the fastest boys in Ohio and proved that he is among the elite.  The course this year was at a new location and it was a big upgrade; everyone we talked to liked it way better than the previous one.  Division 1 boys ran at 3:00pm and this ended up being the warmest state meet in recent memory, hovering in the mid 70's.  While the heat inevitably slows down times a little bit for everyone, it also helps to separate the less resilient runners from real contenders.  


James was positioned on the start line in the dead center of his 176 fellow competitors.  About 350m into the course, there was a tight bottle neck across gravel followed immediately by a 90 degree turn; not the kind of spot you want to be caught in traffic!  But James had a plan to handle this challenge. From Coach Kinkley's vantage point, he spotted James in the lead at about 250m into the race, after which he calmly settled into the lead pack and navigated the corner with ease.  At the 1 mile mark James crossed in 10th in a time of 4:47, but only 6 seconds separated the top 30 runners!  As the pack spread out a bit, he hung onto his place and hovered between 10th and 11th, crossing the 2 mile in 9:55.  With 600m left, James started to make his final move and passed 2 racers before entering the stadium.  In the final stretch, he charged past one more guy and finished in 7th!  Finishing in the top 20, James earned a medal, a spot on the podium and All-Ohio honors.  

To put into perspective how impressive the end of James' senior year was, think about it this way:

  • His ability to perform when it is most important is undeniable.  As the postseason proceeded, he kept getting better: 3rd at GMC, 3rd at Districts, 5th at Regionals, 7th at State.  A MUCH steeper drop off in place would normally be expected.  
  • James was the top runner from the GMC at the state meet.  
  • He was ranked 21st based on time coming into the state meet.  Beating a lot of fast guys is impressive, but placing top 10 in Ohio, one of the fastest states in the country, is a big deal.
  • James is the best state meet finisher in Oak Hills history from boys cross country.  The previous best boy was Keith Tenover who placed 19th in 1991.
  • There are 202 division 1 boys teams in the state.  Each varsity squad gets 7 guys.  That is 1,414 runners on varsity in division 1 and James essentially beat 1,408 of them.