Camaraderie, Potential to Excel Lure Runners

A Summit Country Day cross country program that started in 1985 has enjoyed an upward trajectory in the last decade due to growth, success and a fun atmosphere for student athletes. 

The program’s family-like camaraderie and potential to excel attracts roughly 40 boys and girls each year. High school runners engage with Middle School runners on a daily basis, forming a mentorship that plays a key role in the sport’s positive culture.

There’s no required skill level to run 3.1 miles – just a willingness to work hard on the course and in the classroom. The Summit aspires to create well-rounded student athletes who embrace challenges and establish new expectations of themselves.

The program’s first Miami Valley Conference (MVC) runner of the year and state qualifier was Mike Ryan in 1985. The boys’ cross country team won its first MVC title in 1990, while the girls’ team did the same in 1995. 

The girls’ program has won nine league titles, including seven in a row from 2009-15, and seven district titles (five consecutively from 2012-16). Its achievements include nine regional appearances and a 2013 state tournament berth. 

The boys’ program has won 11 MVC titles – six in a row from 2009-14 – and six district titles. The Summit has made 15 appearances at regionals, claiming four regional championships and a runner-up finish, and clinched five state tournament bids. The 2014 team was the state runner-up. 

Colin Cotton won a Division III state cross country title in 2010, finishing in 15:32.5. Cotton also won a 2011 state championship in the 3,200-meter run in track (9:27.14). His parents, Cindi Fitton and Robert Cotton, have endowed The Summit’s varsity and assistant cross country coaching positions. 

Cotton ran collegiately for Williams College and the University of Cincinnati. Other Silver Knights runners in the college ranks include 2015 alumni John Murdock (University of Cincinnati) and Mason Moore (Xavier University), 2013’s Warren Hill (Hampton University) and 2012’s Charlie Michel (Ashland University). 

Lady Knights runners who have gone on to run cross country collegiately include Class of 2016 student-athlete Shabnam Fayyaz (Earlham College), 2015 alumnus Adelaide Tsueda (College of Wooster), 2014 graduates Ellie Adams (Saint Louis University) and Sophie Adams (Saint Louis University), and 2011’s Courtney Collins (Smith College). 

Cotton Family Head Coed Varsity Coach Kurtis Smith has coached The Summit’s cross country programs since 2006. He started the school’s indoor track program and is an assistant track coach. Coach Smith, a 2001 Elder High School graduate, was the first male cross country runner at Mount St. Joseph University. After graduating from the Mount in 2005 with a master’s degree in pastoral xounseling and theology, he began teaching theology at The Summit.

Robin CottonEndowed Coaching Positions

Our varsity and assistant varsity cross country coach positions were endowed by Cindi Fitton and Robin Cotton in honor of their son Colin, who won the Ohio Division III championship while running cross country at The Summit in 2010. Colin also won the state championship in the 3,200-meter run in track in 2011. After graduation, Colin enrolled in Williams College. In his final season in collegiate cross country, Colin was much awarded and set school records. Williams Head Cross Country Coach Pete Farwell told The Cincinnati Enquirer: "Without a doubt, Colin is right there with some of the best runners this university has ever had. "We had runners win nationals in 1994 and 1995 and another finish as the runner up in 2009. He's as good as anyone."