by Matt Deutsch
How you start a season isn't nearly as important as how you finish it.
That truism is not lost on Hudson head girls cross country coach Jamie Davis.
Davis rested his top seven varsity runners this past weekend, as the Lady Explorers competed in the 26th Annual Bruce Lerch Invitational Sept. 10 at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School. Hudson finished sixth in a field of 15 teams at the event, tallying 198 points in the process.
Woodridge won the invitational with a total of 39 points. Twinsburg also amassed 39 points, but lost the tiebreaker to finish second. Brecksville placed third with 93 points.
With the middle of both September and their regular-season schedule quickly approaching, Davis and the Lady Explorers are already planning for the all-important postseason meets next month.
Giving rest to the top seven varsity runners is evidence of that preparation.
"We're focusing on being strong later in the season and putting the work in now to be running our best in October," Davis said.
Rocky River's Anna Brandt won the race with a time of 20 minutes, 18 seconds. A total of 121 runners competed.
Hudson's top runner in the varsity race was sophomore Margaret Moffitt, who finished 27th overall with a time of 23:31.
In addition, junior Julia Stiles placed 36th with an effort of 24:09 for the Lady Explorers.
Rounding out the top five for Hudson were freshman Nicole Jurado (47th in 25:10), junior Claire Abel (48th in 25:12) and junior Maddie Zammataro (53rd in 25:26).
The Lady Explorers ended up second in the open race in a field of six teams, finishing with a total of 37 points.
Woodridge won the open race with 24 points, while Brecksville placed third with 78 points.
Freshman Leah Hartman ran in her first high school race in the open race. She placed second with a time of 23:06.
All five of Hudson's top five runners finished in the top 14. Senior Meredith Sciartelli was next, placing ninth at 24:57.
The rest of the Lady Explorers' top five in the open race included sophomore Katherine Travis (12th in 25:10), junior Leah Gripp (13th in 25:15) and sophomore Caroline Ricard (14th in 25:15).
Hudson is scheduled to run at the Boardman Spartan Invitational Sept. 17 at 2 p.m.
According to Davis, the Boardman Invitational will be one of the most highly competitive of the season thus far.
"Boardman is going to be a huge race," he said. "We will be running hard at this event. We're looking forward to facing a lot of great competition and running as strong as we can."