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by Matt Deutsch | Correspondent
The Hudson boys cross country team may not have been at peak performance at the Suburban League Championships this past weekend, but the Explorers were still plenty good enough to finish high in the standings.
Hudson placed second with 55 points at the meet, which took place Oct. 15 at Goodyear Metro Park in Akron.
Wadsworth won the meet with 42 points, besting seven other squads in the National Conference, while Brecksville-Broadview Heights finished in third place with 71 points.
"I thought this was not our best performance of the year," Explorers head coach Mark McConnell said.
"Our guys ran like they were still training hard and that is true. Some of the guys were tired and worn out. It really showed on the course [Oct. 15]."
According to McConnell, he expects his team to be rested, recovered and ready to go for the upcoming slate of postseason meets, which will determine how many Hudson athletes advance to the state competition.
"Wadsworth ran a great race and they deserved to win," McConnell said. "We are focused on peaking for the bigger races in two and three weeks."
With the second-place finish at the Suburban League Championships, the Explorers ended up second to the Grizzlies in the final National Conference standings.
Twinsburg's Ryan Adkins won the race with a time of 15 minutes, 51 seconds.
Hudson had three runners who placed in the top 10 at the meet. Adam Beucler led the way with a sixth-place finish in a field of 65 runners, posting a time of 16:28.
Jack Good was right behind Beucler, placing seventh with an effort of 16:31. In addition, Jacob Russo was 10th with a time of 16:53.
Rounding out the top five for the Explorers were Evan Manley in 14th place in 17:08 and Connor Sinko in 18th place in 17:10.
Other Hudson runners competing in the varsity race were Kenny McCaughey (23rd in 17:22) and Eric Halford (32nd in 17:41).
While the Hudson varsity team finished second at the Suburban League Championships, the junior varsity squad won the meet.
The Explorers topped the field of 13 teams with 27 points.
Brecksville-Broadview Heights placed second with 44 points and Wadsworth was third with 67 points.
Hudson had a total of four runners in the top 10, starting with Brian Kinnear in second place with a time of 17:25. There were 254 runners overall in the open race.
Other Explorers finishing in the top 10 were Michael Von Ville in third place (17:32), Lucas Lay in fourth place (17:44) and Blake Hartline in seventh place (18:10). Ethan Smith placed just outside the top 10. He was 11th with an effort of 18:25.
Other Hudson runners competing in the open race were Luke Good, who placed 18th in 18:34, and Neil Berish, who finished 21st in 18:48.
"I was really proud of the JV guys," McConnell said. "We set two goals at the beginning of the season and one of them was to win the JV championship here at leagues and that is now complete.
"We still have one more goal to go. I think that the varsity will be ready to go in a couple of weeks and hopefully, complete that second goal."
The Explorers are scheduled to compete at a Division I district meet Oct. 22 at Willoughby South High School. The boys race is set to begin at 1 p.m.
The top four teams and the top four individuals not part of a qualifying squad will advance to the regional meet the following week.
"The district meet is the first step in the postseason," McConnell said. "Every race is high stakes from here on out. Only a certain number of teams get to go to the next round. We should finish high in the district."
In fact, McConnell expects the Explorers to finish in the top four and advance to the regional round as a team.
"I expect all seven runners to make it to regionals," he said.
"However, we need to stay focused and ready for anything because who knows how this race could end up going."