by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Personal-best times or throws?
Forget about it.
The William E. Ward Invitational April 5 in East Palestine was simply about survival due to the harsh weather conditions.
Despite the poor weather, Hudson head boys track and field coach Dave Caplin couldn't hide his enthusiasm.
His athletes were pretty much oblivious to the brutal conditions.
The Explorers finished second with 79 points. Austintown Fitch won the 18-team competition with 125 points and Poland Seminary took third with 57 points.
"I was very happy with it on a number of different levels," Caplin said. "It was a tough day -- very gold and very windy.
"I wasn't looking for good times. I was looking for gritty performances.
"We scored where we expected to score and we got points from our new guys."
Kyle Mau and Gavin Gaynor each won one event and were part of a first-place relay.
Mau easily won the 3,200-meter race with a time of 9 minutes, 41.07 seconds.
"Kyle was never challenged," Caplin said.
Gaynor added a first in the 1,600 (4:31.99) and joined Mau, Michael Spaans and Connor Sinko on the winning 3,200 relay team (8:31.89).
John Brandon placed second in the discus with a throw of 149 feet.
"John was only two inches from first place," Caplin said. "I think that's a sign of good things to come."
Connor Sinko also took second in the 800 (2:09.9).
"Connor had a very determined run," Caplin said.
"He held off the third-place guy in the end."
Although his meet was cut short by an injury, Adam Green took third in the 110 hurdles (16.75).
Green also joined teammates Seamus Mooney, Logan Thomas and Nick Zehnal on the fifth-place 800 relay team (1:38.5).
"Adam was running a great race in the 300 hurdles," Caplin said. "But the guy next to Adam clipped a hurdle and knocked it into Adam's lane. Adam spiked himself in the thigh and he had a massive strawberry on his shoulder."
As a result, Green did not finish the 300 hurdles and is likely out at least a week.
Fortunately, Alex O'Keefe came to the rescue for Hudson.
O'Keefe took Green's spot on the 1,600 relay team that placed third (3:44.37). Also on that team were Mooney, Marty McDonald and Matthew Gold.
Blake Roberts captured sixth in the 3,200 (10:25.31). Also placing sixth were McDonald in the 400 (55.36) and Thomas in the high jump (5-8).
"It was one of those gritty performances from Blake," Caplin said.
Other Explorers who scored were Gold in the 300 hurdles (seventh, 45.68) and the 110 hurdles (eighth, 18.6) and the 400 relay team of Billy Friend, Michael Lozano, Zehnal and Thomas (eighth, 47.78).
Hudson is scheduled to host Northeast Ohio Conference River Division rival North Royalton April 9 at 4:30 p.m. The Explorers are set to compete in the Lexington Invitational April 12 at 9:30 a.m.
"Every team in the league is tough," Caplin said. "It should be a good dual meet. We'll be able to enter more guys and get a better gauge of our talent. We'll be competitive. We're looking forward to see what our guys can do."