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by Matt Deutsch
Oddly enough, as the fall sports season has progressed, the weather has become hotter.
Fortunately for the Hudson boys cross country team, the Explorers have stayed right in step with Mother Nature.
With temperatures nearly reaching 90 degrees during some parts of the day, Hudson won the 13-team Mentor Cardinal Invitational.
The race took place Aug. 30 at Eleanor B Garfield Park in Mentor.
The Explorers scored 59 points en route to victory, while Mentor was second with 66 points and Medina placed third with 74 points.
Hudson first-year head coach Mark McConnell was extremely pleased with the Explorers' performance, especially finishing first overall and beating an excellent team such as Mentor.
"The guys did great winning their first meet of the season," McConnell said. "I was happy for them to get that win and to beat Mentor, considering they were ranked eighth in the state."
Senior Kyle Mau, who finished first overall at the Golden Eagle Invitational the previous week in Canton, also finished first out of 106 runners at Mentor.
He reached the 16-minute mark for the second consecutive week with a time of 16:00.41. Mau beat his nearest competitor, Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin's Mick Stanovsek (16:11.4) by nearly 11 seconds.
Junior Gavin Gaynor was next for Hudson in ninth (16:51).
In addition, sophomore Blake Roberts finished in 11th place in 17:00.4, sophomore Connor Sinko placed 17th in 17:14.62 and junior Matt Hallgarth captured 21st in 17:19.15.
Although Hudson finished first overall, McConnell indicated that the Explorers still have plenty of room to grow and time to improve.
"The guys on the team didn't even run to their max potential for the season, which really gets me excited to see what they can do in the following meets," he said.
Hudson also captured first place in the junior varsity race, winning with a total of 40 points. Medina was second with 42 points, and Mentor placed third with 49 points.
Freshman Jake Good finished first overall for the Explorers in 18:09.4, while freshman Ben Stevenot took fifth with a time of 18:38.79 and junior Clayton Travis captured sixth with an effort of 18:39.38.
Rounding out the scoring for Hudson were sophomore Hunter Gawne, who finished 10th in 18:58.38, and junior Ian Liljestrand, who placed 18th in 19:31.09.
"Overall, it was a great day and I was pleased to see both teams bring home the titles," McConnell said.
Hudson is scheduled to compete at the Wooster Invitational Sept. 6 at 9 a.m.