by Matt Deutsch | Correspondent
The Hudson boys cross country team continued to show improvement at the Mentor Cardinal Classic Aug. 31.
The Explorers finished in fourth place with 105 points at the event, which took place at Garfield Park.
Louisville won the invitational with 72 points, while Mentor and Chardon both scored 80 points. A total of 15 teams competed at the event.
Chardon's Nick Elswick placed first out of 128 runners with a time of 15 minutes, 29.76 seconds.
Junior Kyle Mau led the way for Hudson by placing second overall with a time of 15:50, just one second off his personal-best 5K performance from the previous week.
Sophomore Gavin Gaynor ran a strong 16:26 to finish fourth .
Sophomore Matthew Hallgarth posted a personal-best effort of 17:07 to earn 18th place.
Rounding out the seven top varsity runners for Hudson were freshmen Connor Sinko (41st in 17:52) and Blake Roberts (42nd in 17:53); sophomore Matthew Stevenot (45th in 17:57); and senior Andrew Bitter (58th in 18:15).
According to Hudson head coach Dave Caplin, the Mentor Cardinal Classic was a strong outing for his runners.
"The Mentor course is very technical, with lots of tight turns and narrow choke points," he said. "This required our guys to get out fast and avoid being boxed in, which makes passing runners more difficult. [Our] runners were largely successful in doing this, which helped solidify our fourth-place team finish and is another indicator of how significant our ability to run as a pack is."
The Hudson junior varsity squad also had a good outing, placing fifth overall.
Will Carson led the way for the JV team with a 12th-place finish (18:39), while sophomore Clayton Travis placed 26th (19:13), senior Michael Ross captured 32nd (19:23) and sophomore Ian Liljestrand finished 38th (19:42).
"The JV squad continues to show steady, incremental improvement, which bodes well for the future of the program," said Caplin.
The Explorers are scheduled to travel to the Wooster Invitational Sept. 7. Hudson is the defending team champion. The varsity race is set to begin at 9 a.m.
"We're really starting to see times come down and the guys are developing the pack mentality that is so vital to success in team scoring," said Caplin. "For the second week in a row, our four through six runners have finished within two seconds of each other. Last week, they placed in the 50s. This week, they did it in the 40s. If we can get them to incrementally speed up and finish with that margin in the 30s, we'll do very well as a team."