What started in the grueling August heat has boiled down to one 3.1 mile race.
The prep cross country season wraps up this weekend with the annual Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Championship and seven area harriers are making the trip west to compete.
The meet will be held Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron and will operate on the same time schedule as the regional. The boys will run first and the Division III event gets things started at 11 a.m. The races will go off every 45 minutes thereafter. The girls' Division III race will begin at 1:30 p.m.
The top 25 finishers in this weekend's race will be recognized as all-Ohio.
Of the seven runners remaining, only four area schools will be represented.
Shadyside's lone representative enters as a regional champion.
Senior Tara Tollett, who narrowly missed all-Ohio a season ago, will compete in her second state meet and will look to add to her all-state resume.
The Ohio University commit was Division III state runnerup at 3200 meters last June and has carried that success into the cross country season.
Tollett won the regional at Pickerington in a time of 19:08 to earn her trip to Hebron.
"I was definitely happy with the (regional) race," the classy Tollett said. "I am not, however, satisfied. I'm excited for the state meet and I hope to get a new personal record. I hope I can represent my team and community well this weekend."
Tollett will begin her quest for the awards podium from Box V in Saturday's meet.
St. John Central's lone girls' entrant is the same one as last season.
Lady Irish sophomore Fallon Doyle continued her brilliant second season with a third-place run in last week's regional. She won the district race a week prior.
At last year's state meet, Doyle finished third in the state, earning all-Ohio accoloades.
She finds herself slated to run in Box D Saturday from the back row. She'll line up next to Caldwell's Jenna Furr.
Martins Ferry has a pair of individuals in the state meet. Senior ace Sunshine Wrenn has been to the state previously and will be seeking her first all-state finish. She'll be joined by first-time qualifier Jamie Truchan. The Lady Riders' duo is ticketed for Box Q of the state meet starting line.
The lone Division III boy slated to compete is St. John Central senior Corey Leasure. He earned his way to Hebron by virtue of a sixth-place finish in last week's regional. He'll run for an all-Ohio finish starting in Box D in the front row.
IN DIVISION II, just St. Clairsville is represented and the Red Devils will send a single boy and girl competitor.
Senior Drake Walker has become a regular at the state meet. This marks the first time, however, he'll be competing on his own. Walker finished 10th in last week's regional to earn his way to the state meet.
This week, Walker will begin his final prep CC race from Box V.
The Lady Red Devils will be represented by senior Juliana Madzia. She's been to the state meet twice and was a member of the Lady Red Devils' state runnerup squad when she was a frosh.
Madzia, who was seventh in the regional last week, will run from Box Q in the front row to begin her final race.