Which is saying a lot, considering the Falcon boys won state team titles in 1994 and '97, were runnersup in 1996, and have had more than their fair share of top-shelf runners in the last decade or so.
Despite suffering a separated shoulder prior to the district meet a few weeks ago, Hutchinson still took fifth at the state meet to earn All-Ohio honors for the third consecutive year after placing seventh as a sophomore and 13th as a junior. He also shares the school-record time of 15:45 with current Falcon junior high coach Ed Conroy, who first established that mark in 1984.
"My goal over the summer was to win the state championship," said Hutchinson, an academic All-Ohioan who carries a 3.545 grade-point average. "For that to happen, everything would have had to have gone just right. But I can't complain."
Hutchinson refuses to use his shoulder injury as an excuse for not winning the state title, which would have meant beating Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Anthony Mion, who won the championship with a time of 15:40. Hutchinson clocked a 15:54.
"The shoulder has been pretty sore since it happened and it affected me at the district meet, but I don't think it's really affected me since then," said Hutchinson, who owns the Falcons' junior high record as well as records at several courses throughout the area. "It might have made a little bit of a difference in my training, but I don't think I could have gotten Mion. He's been running real strong lately."
Hutchinson, who will run in the Midwest Meet of Champions in Kettering later this month, had a shot at the runnerup spot heading into the final few hundred meters of the race Saturday.
"I was second or third coming into the stadium, but I don't have the natural footspeed a lot of those other guys have," he said. "I run more on strength. When it comes down to 400-meter speed or sprinting, I know they're faster than me."
They'd better be, because as Hutchinson has shown with devastating consistency throughout his high school career, he has the endurance to steadily pull away and put a race out of reach rather quickly.
"His strength is just forcing the pace, being able to take the kick out of most runners," said Field coach Bill Huntington, whose team ended up third at the state meet. "If you get enough of a lead, you don't have to worry about a kick. He's definitely more of a 10,000-meter runner or longer. I think college cross country or a 10,000 in track or something like that would be better suited for him."
With Hutchinson's prep cross country career now over, so is that of the family name at Field High School. Older brothers Matt and Nate ran on the Falcons' state-title winning squads in 1994 and 1997, respectively, with Nate currently running track at Ohio State. Next season will mark the first time since 1993 that a Hutchinson has not been on the Falcons' roster.
"Matt was a real strong runner, Nate had the speed and Seth has the work ethic," said Huntington. "It's kind of funny how each had something different going for him. Seth is really a hard worker, one of the hardest-working kids I've ever had. It's been a real good career for him."
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