by Matt Deutsch | Correspondent
The competition doesn't get much tougher than it does at the Boardman Spartan Invitational, and that makes the Hudson High School girls cross country team's performance at the recent event all the more impressive.
The Lady Explorers finished fifth with 210 points in the 34-team Division I race Sept. 14 at Boardman High School in Youngstown.
According to Hudson head coach Ed Hoffmeier, the meet served as a good bartometer for where his squad is in terms of its continued development.
"Some of the best teams in the state every year converge on this meet," he said. "It's our regional site, so we go to see the course and see who is running well."
North Allegheny (Pa.) won the 34-team competition with 115 points and Nordonia (146), Brunswick (165) and Canton GlenOak (197) finished second, third and fourth, respectively.
North Allegheny's Madeleine Davison easily won the race with a time of 18 minutes, 22.6 seconds.
She beat the second-place finisher, Amherst Steele's Alexis Szivan (19:23.3), by more than a minute. A total of 284 runners competed in the Division I varsity race.
"Our girls ran very well," said Hoffmeier. "They're coming around at the right time."
Junior Sarah Wolanske led the Lady Explorers with a 20th-place time of 19:58.1. Sophomore Arielle Dalea was next for Hudson in 36th (20:24.9).
Rounding out the top five for the Lady Explorers were senior Madison VanDyke (42nd, 20:30.3), sophomore Ellie Stiles (51st, 20:38) and freshman Gabby Palazzo (62nd, 20:48.1).
Taking sixth and seventh, respectively, for Hudson were feshman Adeline Wickerham (67th in 21:01) and senior Kate McGregor (68th in 21:03).
"The weather was great and the course was nice," said Hoffmeier.
Hoffmeier indicated that the Lady Explorers are starting to come together.
"The spread of the team was only 50 seconds," he said. "If we can keep improving week by week and keep the spread where it is, we should be in good shape come the postseason."
In the open race, senior Sarah Miles ran a strong race, posting a time of 21:33 to finish in fifth place.
The Lady Explorers are scheduled to run in the Strongsville Invitational Sept. 21 at 10 a.m.