by Michael Leonard
Macedonia -- Given the strength of the field at the Division I district meet at Nordonia High School's Boliantz Stadium in Macedonia, Hudson second-year head boys track and field coach Dave Caplin knew his team wasn't going to come in and dominate.
However, the Explorers did get one very dominant performance.
Junior distance runner Kyle Mau won the 3,200-meter run to highlight Hudson's performance at the Nordonia Division I district meet, which concluded May 23.
The Explorers finished seventh in the 14-team boys competition with 44 points. Nordonia won the title with 112.5 points, holding off runner-up Wadsworth (96) and third-place Twinsburg (82).
Caplin said he was "absolutely" pleased with his team's effort, given the strength of the field.
"We did a great job," Caplin said. "Our guys have really gotten better."
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the Division I regional meet, which is scheduled for May 28 and 30 at Austintown-Fitch High School. The competition is set to begin at 5 p.m. both days.
The fact that Mau won the 3,200 was no surprise. The manner in which he did was jaw-dropping.
Mau dominated the field, winning in a time of 9 minutes, 7.5 seconds.
When Mau crossed the finish line, he had a lead that Secretariat would admire.
Twinsburg's Nick Schank finished second in 9:35.3, but when Mau finished, Schank was a full half-lap behind him.
Was Mau running his legs off? Not really.
"I was between 66s and 69s [seconds per lap]," Mau said. "I wanted to stay on even splits the whole way."
Mau made it clear he not only wants to win the Division I state title in the 3,200, but he also wants to break the state record in doing so. Tsehaye Hiluf of Reynoldsburg set the record at 8:55.04 in 2012.
"I'm in a good place," Mau said. "I'll have two of my biggest rivals at regionals, so it will be good to see them."
Freshman Blake Roberts finished seventh in the 3,200 in 9:56.9, much to Caplin's delight.
"He broke 10 minutes," Caplin said. "He's going to be great going forward."
Mau wasn't the only Hudson distance runner to reach regionals.
Sophomore Gavin Gaynor placed second in the 1,600-meter run, finishing second only to Twinsburg All-Ohioan Garrett Crichlow. Gaynor finished in 4:21.66.
Gaynor and Mau each had already qualified for regionals as part of Hudson's 3,200-meter relay team, which took second on day one of districts May 21. That team, which also included Adam Green and Doni Moffa, ran a time of 7:54.53.
Also on May 21, senior John Brandon won the district title in the discus with a heave of 177 feet, 5 inches. That mark was a school and stadium record.
"John has been steadily improving in the discus throw with the postseason as his target," Caplin said. "After unanimously earning All-NOC [Northeast Ohio Conference] honors in a coach's poll, he had a breakout performance at the district championship meet.
"His best throw coming in was 168 feet with the Hudson school record of 173-6 and a district championship as his interim goals. That throw is now one of the best performances in the region.
"Next week's regional meet could see John exceed 180 feet and earn a ticket to state. He will be exciting to watch."
Another senior also qualified in the other throwing event May 23 as David Lizanich advanced in the shot put. Lizanich took third place with a throw of 47-1.75.
"He came on like fire over the last few weeks," Caplin said. "Basically, every meet he's at now, he's breaking a personal record."
Caplin also praised junior Logan Thomas, who reached the finals in the long jump. Thomas finished ninth with a leap of 20-3.25.