PORTSMOUTH — Simply put, two Scioto County boys cross country runners will attempt to take home all-Ohio honors.
Thus, it indeed —despite just one race in the month —will be a November to remember for both Kailan Marshall and Charles Putnam.
That’s because the Northwest senior Marshall and the Portsmouth sophomore Putnam will represent Scioto County as part of Saturday’s state cross country meet —held once again this year inside the confines of Fortress Obetz.
For Marshall, he competes in the state meet for the third and final time —but for the first year as an individual only.
He was a key cog in back-to-back years of Mohawk machine teams —which qualified for the Division II state race as an entire unit.
The top seven Division II boys teams from the Region 7 meet qualified for the state meet, but the Mohawks were well back at the regional —although Marshall made it out individually, placing 14th and in the top half of the top-28.
Amid a mud-mired 5K run at Pickerington North a week ago, Marshall mustered a finishing time of 17 minutes and 47 seconds — landing among the top-28 which automatically advanced to the state.
A year ago, as the Mohawks’ number-three regional runner, Marshall was 13th in 16:53 —as he punched his state ticket two years in a row with Northwest moving on as a squad.
He then, almost, made it a trio of Northwest all-Ohio runners —as only four spots and exactly four seconds separated him from the 30th-place finish.
Marshall, who was 85th two years back in 17:06, rocketed up the leaderboard to clock in at 16:38 and finish 34th.
Landen Smith was the lead runner of the Mohawks’ team which qualified for the state meet for the second consecutive season, and was joined among the all-Ohio top-30 by fellow senior Josh Shope — who finished in 27th-place and made all-state by a razor-thin two seconds.
Smith was sixth in the Division II race, making him a two-time all-Ohioan.
But now, the Southern Ohio Conference champion Marshall is on his own in his last high school race —although only if you phrase it in terms of teams.
Portsmouth’s Putnam —the back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference champion who was third in both the Southeast District AND Region 7 races —returns to the state meet, as it likely won’t be his last.
A year ago, Putnam placed 49th in 16:55, as he entered that race with the fastest freshman regional time — and exited the race with the fastest freshman time by 11-and-a-half seconds.
This year, with weather impacting his regional run, Putnam ran a slightly slower 17 minutes and two tics —but finishing third out of 164 total runners.
The only individuals ahead of the PHS standout —seniors Connor Shingleton of Minerva in 16:43 and Corey Schobelock of Unioto in 16:46.
Schobelock was the Southeast District Division II boys champion at the University of Rio Grande, while Putnam took third in that race as well —believed to be a personal-best 16 minutes and four seconds.
Putnam will begin his second state 5K run from starting box 28, while Marshall starts at the other end from box 7.
Another SOC runner, Waverly junior Mitch Green, goes off in the same race from box 29 besides Putnam.
Green garnered a 13th-place performance at the regional and was one spot ahead of Marshall (17:47.2) —in a same 17:47 (17.47.1).
And, while last season’s summery Saturday was a welcome weather change — this season’s should-be sunny day will only top out in the mid-50s.
The two Scioto County men will compete in the Division II boys race —with the starting gun going off at 1 p.m.
Additional information about the state meet can be found at www.ohsaa.org.
Prior to last November, the Ohio High School Athletic Association state cross country meet was held for a decade at National Trail Raceway —where Marshall ran as a sophomore.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved