Dayton Christian’s twin sensations, Walter and John Luttrell, have had quite a year. Their photo finish in the Division III cross country final at Scioto Downs will be talked about for years to come, and now they have been named the Huntington Bank/Ohio High Runners of the Year in boys cross country.
“I’m really proud of them,” Warrior head cross country coach Larry Meyers said. “They are hard working, dedicated, all-around great guys. They always seem to run their best when the pressure is on them in the big race. The more they have become aware of their natural talent, the more they have trained; and the better they have trained the better they have gotten. It’s funny how that works.”
The final is still etched in Meyer’s mind.
“They came through the mile around 4:50 and the two-mile around 10:00. With about a kilometer to go they were together with the kid from Louisville (Tony Migliozzi) as we knew they would be. They came into the stadium, put the hammer down, and powered away from him. Then it was just the twins. Walt reached way back for his kick and got John at the tape. They were 0.27 of a second apart, 15:34.09 and 15:34.36.”
The Luttrell’s interests aren’t limited to just cross country. Last spring Walter won the 3200-meter run at the state track meet (9:18) and John finished third (9:25). John also finished second in the 1600 (4:18) to former Yellow Springs star Sam Borchers.
All of this scoring contributed heavily to Dayton Christian’s 2007 Division III state team championship in track and field.
“They are pretty good soccer players, too, and they played for the school team this fall,” Meyers offered. “They’ve been playing their whole lives. Last year on the Thursday before the cross country regional, they played every second of a double-overtime game in the state soccer tournament. They’re busy kids.”
On a bedroom wall somewhere in suburban Dayton is a picture of two twins hitting the tape together in the state final.
“I am not very good at taking the lead so I let John lead the races,” Walter laughed. “We were pretty much the same distance apart the whole race and I thought that I would just maintain that through the end of the race but in that last 50 meters that all changed.
“It’s hard to sprint in but once you get going it gets easier. Once I got going, I knew that I could pass him. It’s easier to catch someone than it is to hold him off. He probably would have done the same thing if I were leading.”
John had a different perspective.
“I had been leading the whole race and he passed me in the last five meters,” John said. “I lead the workouts and win most of the races but somehow he usually beats me in the biggest races. That’s going to change this year in track though!
“We won the state team title last year. We’re both going to double in the 1600 and the 3200 to get team points. I should beat him at least in the 1600 because I have a little more natural speed than he does, although there isn’t much of a difference. We are about equal although I usually push the pace and Walter usually tries to draft off of me.”
The Luttrells are considering college offers from Kentucky and Bowling Green. Even so, they know that 2007 was a great time, a year for them to savor.
“We had a disappointing season last year,” John stressed. “We both had really good track seasons so we knew that if we came into the CC season healthy that we could have a breakout season. I ran a 15:33 (personal record) at the Fairmont Firebird meet and Walter ran a 15:33 (personal record) at the Mideast Meet of Champions — and we ran our best at the state meet, so we are pleased.”