STOW: A collection of 10 highly regarded Northeast Ohio schools gathered Saturday morning for an “elite cross country race” at Silver Springs Park.
The area was well represented, but the top individual boy and girl runners hailed from Chardon in the sixth annual Stow Bulldogs Invitational.
However, the best teams in each gender were Summit County based. Hudson won the girls overall team championship with 57 points, and Walsh Jesuit earned the boys overall team title with 84 points.
Senior Brian Brennan finished third in a time of 16:11.5 to lead Walsh, and senior Caroline Sauers placed second in a time of 19:36.3 to lead Hudson.
Chardon junior Nick Elswick (15:51.7) and senior Corinne Kule (19:21.6) triumphed in the boys and girls races.
“Obviously, it was a stacked field,” Walsh coach Pat Ritchie said. “All those teams that we beat today should be at the regional. It is nice to beat them now, however it will not mean much at the regional meet. We have to beat them then too. It is like rolling the dice. You never know, it could turn out differently.”
“We were excited coming into this meet,” Brennan said. “This was like a mini regional race. It was a fun race with a lot of tough guys. I just tried to stay with the top pack as long as possible. Nick and Kyle pulled away. Those guys are studs.”
Walsh has earned wins in three of the six quality invitationals in which it has competed. Brennan has three firsts and three thirds individually.
Walsh senior Jordan Shepherd finished ninth. Senior Will Nouse, senior Evan Freeman and junior Nick Ondracek also scored for the Warriors.
Twinsburg (94 points) and Mentor (101 points) were second and third in the boys team standings.
“I’m really happy with how I ran,” Sauers said. “I wasn’t feeling very well earlier in the season. This is the first race I felt good. It’s not the best time, but it’s muddy and cold out here.”
Hudson junior Madison VanDyke placed fifth, and senior Madi Hartline took seventh. Junior Casey Watson and junior Kate McGregor also scored for the Explorers.
“I think they ran great,” Hudson coach Ed Hoffmeier said. “We have been working really hard. Right now, most of the teams are having hard practices during the week. Everyone is trying to get ready for the postseason. This was a tough meet.”
Walsh (84 points) and Woodridge (98 points) rounded out the top three girls teams.
Twinsburg junior Garrett Crichlow (fifth), Hudson senior Vince Moeglin (sixth), Twinsburg junior Nick Schank (eighth) and Woodridge senior Alex Frederick (10th) each finished in the top 10 on the boys side.
Other area boys in the top 20 were Woodridge seniors Matthew Wojcik and Sam Scourfield, Twinsburg freshman Josh Gogan and junior teammate Matt Andrews, and GlenOak junior Max Esposito.
Walsh had two girls place third and fourth, junior Melinda Renuart and Maureen Sinko. Woodridge junior Madison Spreitzer was sixth, and Stow junior Katie Fobean was ninth.
Other area girls in the top 20 were GlenOak sophomore Hannah Thompson, junior Jen Fockler and sophomore Jetaiya Smith, Stow freshman Jessie Stout, Walsh junior Abbey Cerroni, and Woodridge junior Allyson Dryer.
Roosevelt’s Murray wins
The afternoon featured “varsity races,” with Strongsville winning both team titles.
Kent Roosevelt freshman Kaylie Murray won the girls race in 19:57.8.
Nordonia sophomore Leah Vasarhelyi and Roosevelt seniors Libby Bradford and Sarah McClure all placed in the top 10.
Stow senior Vince Horning finished fourth on the boys side.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.