by Matt Deutsch
Competing against quality opposition, the Hudson boys cross country team finished fourth with 90 points in the 10-team Elite race at the Stow Invitational Oct. 5 at Silver Springs Park in Stow.
"We ran well against a quality field," said Explorers head coach Dave Caplin. "This race is our last invitational before the NOC [Northeast Ohio Conference] championships next Saturday and then the districts the following Saturday. Everyone is putting on a fine edge for districts."
Twinsburg won the Stow Invitational with a score of 64 points. Mentor was second (79), followed by Canton GlenOak (87 points).
Twinsburg's Garrett Crichlow won the invitational with a course-record time of 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Hudson junior Kyle Mau was close on Crichlow's heels, posting a time of 15:42 for second place. A total of 69 runners competed.
Hudson sophomore Gavin Gaynor captured fifth place with an effort of 16:21.
Rounding out the performance of the Explorers' varsity unit were sophomore Matt Hallgarth (21st in 17:03), freshman Blake Roberts (30th in 17:27), sophomore Matt Stevenot (32nd in 17:30), junior Andrew Bitter (47th in 17:50) and freshman Connor Sinko (51st in 18:08).
Roberts and Stevenot both ran personal-best times to secure Hudson's fourth-place finish.
"We were close to several teams we'll see at districts and regionals," said Caplin.
Caplin also pointed out that several teams were not at full strength due to the SAT exam or a scheduled weekend rest as Hudson had the previous week.
The Hudson junior varsity squad placed seventh at the Stow Invitational.
Freshman Will Carson led the way for the JV team, finishing 19th overall with a time of 18:28. Sophomore Clayton Travis was 32nd with a time of 18:50.
Girls finish fifth
The Hudson girls finished fifth with 135 points in the 11-team varsity Elite race.
Woodridge won the competition with 75 points and Walsh Jesuit (87) and Canton GlenOak (90) finished second and third, respectively.
Walsh's Melinda Renuart placed first out of 75 runners with a time of 19 minutes, 7.4 seconds.
Junior Sarah Wolanske paced the Lady Explorers by finishing 10th overall on a wet and muddy course. She posted a time of 20:02 in the process.
Senior Madison VanDyke and freshman Gabby Palazzo placed 24th and 25th with times of 20:35 and 20:36, respectively.
In addition, freshman Adeline Wickerham was 37th with an effort of 20:52.
"That was Adeline's best race of the season so far," said Hudson head coach Ed Hoffmeier.
Sophomore Ellie Stiles finished in 39th place with a time of 20:52, while senior Kate McGregor was 47th with an effort of 21:04.
"[Sophomore] Arielle Dalea had quad cramps the entire race, but she gutted it out for a [time of] 21:32," said Hoffmeier. "It was an awesome piece of courage and determination."
Overall, Hoffmeier was pleased with the Lady Explorers' performance at the Stow Invitational and he's looking forward to even greater things in the future.
"The girls ran solid once again," he said. "I believe everything will come together at the right time and they will shine."
Hudson won the junior varsity race with a total of 37 points. GlenOak placed second with 86 points.
Senior Sydney Vargo led the way for the Lady Explorers with a fourth-place finish (21:37), while senior Angela Restifo was fifth (21:45) and senior Evie Thorne placed seventh (21:54).
In addition, senior Natalie Stiles finished eighth with a time of 21:58, sophomore Katie Castrigano was 13th in 22:01, sophomore Audrey Moeglin placed 21st in 22:20 and senior Sarah Miles finished 36th in 22:47.
"It was a great race by these girls," said Hoffmeier.
Hoffmeier indicated that the Lady Explorers are continuing to improve and should be ready to hit their peak at just the right time.
"The girls are running well and should be ready come the district championship," said Hoffmeier.
Hudson is scheduled to run at the NOC Valley Division Meet Oct. 12 at Mentor Garfield Park. The first race is set to begin at 3 p.m.