by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
The stars, such as Alex Obendorf, Ross Palazzo and Ryan Hutcheson, did their usual things.
But Hudson head boys swimming and diving coach Matt Davis knows those guys can't win a district title by themselves.
Thankfully for Davis, that's where a bevy of other talented performers came to the rescue.
The Explorers won a Division I district title Feb. 16 at Cleveland State University's Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.
Hudson placed first out of 31 teams with 297 points. Solon (275) and North Canton Hoover (246) finished second and third, respectively.
"It was an amazing meet for our boys," Davis said. "We knew we would be in for a tough battle with Solon, Mayfield and Hoover, but all 19 of our boys stepped up and got the job done.
"Yes, swimmers like Ross [Palazzo] and Hutch [Ryan Hutcheson] won individual events, but it was the points scored by swimmers such as Will [Wiley] in the 100 fly [butterfly], Doni in the 200 IM [individual medley], Peyton [Brown] in the 500 [freestyle], Keegan [Goeke] in the 100 back [backstroke] and so on.
"This was a total team effort and I am so proud of these boys. It was only our second-ever team district championship."
Obendorf got things started when he placed third in the diving competition Feb. 14. Obendorf, the defending state champion, scored 439.95 points to advance to the state meet. Teammate Brendan Dagley finished 16th (284.9).
The swimmers did the rest.
Palazzo will get a chance to swim four events at the state meet. He won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1 minute, 52.83 seconds and the 100 breaststroke (school-record 56.43).
Palazzo also was a member of the third-place 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that posted clockings of 1:27.24 and 3:11.28, respectively.
The 200 freestyle relay team also featured Peyton Brown, Cole Clampffer and Brendon Mulcahey. Hutcheson, Mulcahey and Clampffer joined Palazzo on the 400 freestyle relay team.
Hutcheson earned a trip to the state meet in two other events.
He placed first in the 500 freestyle (school-record 4:38.25) and joined Doni Moffa, Brown and Mulcahey on the fourth-place 200 medley relay team (1:37.29).
Other Hudson swimmers who finished in the top 10 were:
• 50 freestyle: Mulcahey, 10th, 21.92
• 200 freestyle: Hutcheson, sixth, 1:45.16
• 500 freestyle: Brown, fourth, 4:47.86
• 100 backstroke: Moffa, fifth, 53.9; Clampffer, sixth, 54.98; and Goeke, 10th, 56.41
• 200 individual medley: Moffa, fifth, 1:59.39; and Brown, sixth, 2:00.78
Wiley gave the Explorers some crucial points with a 15th-place time of 56.39 in the 100 butterfly.
"We are not done," Davis said. "We are looking for some great finishes. Ross is the top seed in the 100 breast and second in the 200 IM. Alex is looking to defend his state title in diving and we have several of our swims that are seeded in the top 10."
The state meet is scheduled to take place this weekend. Preliminaries are set to take place Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. and finals are scheduled for Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.
Obendorf is set to dive Feb. 23 at 9 a.m.