by Matt Deutsch
The Hudson girls cross country team performed well at the six-team Northeast Ohio Conference Championships Oct. 12 at Garfield Park in Mentor.
Because of that performance, the Lady Explorers nearly won the Valley Division crown.
However, they fell just short, finishing second to a strong Brunswick squad.
Brunswick captured the division title with 38 points.
Hudson placed second with 64 points and Solon captured third place with 87 points.
According to Hudson head coach Ed Hoffmeier, the Lady Explorers are continuing to improve and come together as a team.
"All season long, the girls have had some problems competing, but Saturday they really competed well," said Hoffmeier.
Solon's duo of Louiza Wise (18 minutes, 47.57 seconds) and Geneva Sandridge (19:11.12) took the top two spots. A total of 42 runners competed.
Gabby Palazzo led the Lady Explorers with a seventh-place time of 19 minutes, 55.93 seconds.
Right behind her was teammate Sarah Wolanske in eighth (20:02.44).
Rounding out the top five for Hudson were Madison VanDyke (14th, 20:21.37), Kate McGregor (15th, 20:25.22) and Adeline Wickerham (20th, 20:48.25).
Also finishing in the top 30 for Hudson were Arielle Dalea (21st, 20:51.82) and Ellie Stiles (27th, 21:06.43).
Hoffmeier was pleased with his team's performance, but he also indicated that the best is yet to come for the Lady Explorers.
"We ran well, but still not all together," he said. "I truly believe that this Saturday or next [Saturday], the girls will all run well at the same time and then we'll see something special."
Hudson dominated in the open race, winning with 30 points. Brunswick finished second with 65 points, and Mentor was third with 77 points.
Sydney Vargo led the way for the Lady Explorers with a third-place finish in 21:05, while senior Casey Watson finished fourth (21:05) and sophomore Katie Castrigano placed sixth (21:26).
Also placing in the top 10 were Evie Thorne (eighth, 21:34) and Alex Babcock (ninth, 21:36).
Hudson is scheduled to run in a Division I district meet Oct. 19 at Goodyear Park in Akron.
The first race is set to begin at 1 p.m.
Wolanske, Palazzo, VanDyke, McGregor, Wickerham, Dalea and Stiles are expected to run for the Lady Explorers.
The alternates will be Vargo and Watson.
"This is a wonderful group of young ladies," said Hoffmeier. "I had a blast coaching them."