Hudson junior Kyle Mau has several second-place finishes to his name this season but came out on top when it mattered most, taking first place at the Division I district meet at Goodyear Metro Parks on Saturday with a time of 16 minutes, 22.06 seconds.
Mau placed second again at the Stow Bulldogs Invitational last week, as he did at the GlenOak Invitational early in the year. But on Saturday, Mau survived the mud and the rain and finished 12 seconds ahead of his teammate, Hudson sophomore Gavin Gaynor (16:34.11).
“It means a lot,” Mau said. “It has to do with the mindset you have.
“I’ll be competing with the best next week, so we’ll see what I can do.”
After Mau and Gaynor, though, the Explorers didn’t place any other runners in the top 22. That allowed Tallmadge, which had all five runners in the top 22, to take first place in the team race by 15 points (61-76).
Senior Patrick Ferguson led the Blue Devils at 16:49.87 and was third. Senior Brian McGovern (17:15.60) was seventh. Junior Nick Murray (11th), senior Chris Lamancusa (18th) and sophomore A.J. Zesiger (22nd) rounded out Tallmadge’s scoring.
Nordonia (87 points) and Walsh Jesuit (95 points) advanced as well.
In the girls race, Walsh Jesuit senior Melinda Renuart continued her strong push through the season with a 13-second win.
Renuart took advantage of the sizable hill that runners must climb and then descend late in the race at Goodyear. At the summit, Renuart made her move.
“I’m not really good at running up hills but I like running down hill so I just sort of let myself go,” said Renuart, who finished in 19:21.26.
Making that move nearly sent her tumbling, though. The track at the top of the hill was particularly muddy, so Renuart tried to forego the course and run on the grass. The grass was no better, and she almost tripped just as she started her downhill sprint.
“That was scary,” she said. “After I slipped I just had to move back onto the path. ... I feel great about the race. Running my last year here, it was great to win.”
Renuart’s victory wasn’t enough to propel the Warriors to a team victory. That was reserved for Nordonia, which took home its first girl’s district title. The Knights beat Walsh 57-64 on the strength of a couple high finishes and a well-rounded effort by all five runners.
“We thought we could be one of the top four teams today and we ran pretty well,” Nordonia coach Mike Martin said. “Now we gotta focus on regionals next weekend. My number five runner, [junior Jenna Dasher], she ran a great race. Jenna was a difference-maker for us.”
Junior Leah Vasarhelyi led Nordonia at 19:37.72 and finished third. Junior Heather Ross (19:49.21) and sophomore Dana Risley (19:58.04) came in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Cuyahoga Falls freshman Emily Zimmerman (19:34.43) took second place. Hudson, as a team, was fourth and advances to the regional meet.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.