Camaraderie, Potential to Excel Lure Runners

Cotton Family Head Coed Varsity Coach Kurtis Smith’s favorite story of all time has nothing to do with a state championship race.

It involved a senior who knew she was never going to run at the varsity level. However, she showed up, pushed herself and improved drastically from the start of the season. At the beginning of each season, Coach Smith has the team run a mile time trial. She clocked in at 12 minutes, 30 seconds. At the end of the season, she was a full five minutes faster.

There is no required skill level to run 3.1 miles – just a willingness to work hard.

Coach Smith’s cross country teams’ numbers have swelled due to an increase in retention, interest and positive team atmosphere. That retention and interest has helped garner a lot of success. The program has become a local powerhouse.

Since the 2009-2010 season, both the boys’ and girls’ varsity cross country teams have won the Miami Valley Conference championship in nine of the past 10 years.

District titles, regional championships and state appearances followed, too.

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. 

The most recent state appearances came in the 2018-2019.

After seven boys’ cross country runners finished in the top-10 at the conference meet, carrying the team to another MVC title, the team won the district race and finished runner-up at regionals. Keeping with the trend, the team brought a Division III state runner-up trophy home.

On the girls’ side, two runners made the trip to the state meet. Catherine Coldiron finished 24th, the best finish by a Summit girl at the state meet in program history, and Katie Chamberlin crossed the line in 66th in her first appearance in the meet.   

The Summit has a number of cross country runners in the college ranks. Margo Dailey '17 (University of Tampa), Shabnam Fayyaz '16 (Earlham College), Adelaide Tsueda '15 (College of Wooster), Tullus Dean '17 (Xavier University) and Grady Stuckman '15 (Franciscan University) all run at the next level.

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 counseling and theology, he began teaching theology at The Summit.

Cotton Family Endowed 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."