GREEN: Warm temperatures greeted runners Saturday morning in the Bulldog Invitational at Boettler Park.
Since distance runners prefer a cooler setting, Green senior Stewart Schmidt wasn’t a fan of the heat and neither was Hudson junior Elizabeth Hinkle.
Regardless, Schmidt and Hinkle, who each have 4.0 grade-point averages, pushed through the temperatures in the 80s to win top honors in the nine-school event.
Schmidt completed the 3.1-mile course in 16:34 to win the boys race and Hinkle crossed the finish line first in the girls race in 20:06.
“It is exhilarating to win the race with some new faces on the team this year,” Schmidt said. “We worked hard over the summer. Three of our seven guys ran their first race as a high school athlete. ... I am proud I won, but I am more proud that our team made a move in the right direction toward hopefully making a state berth.”
Hudson senior Blake Roberts finished second in the boys race in 16:35. Wadsworth’s Nick Miller (16:37) and Hudson’s Evan Manley (16:40) and Jack Good (17:01) rounded out the top five.
“I wasn’t in the top 10 the first mile and a half,” Schmidt said. “I was in the back of the pack because some of these guys were flying out. Then one-by-one going back toward the second half of the course I picked everyone off, and coming down the last straightaway I picked off three more. I kept a lot for the end.”
Rounding out the top 11 boys were Wadsworth’s Gabe Szalay (17:02), Hudson’s Adam Beucler (17:03), Wadsworth’s Kyle Hibinger (17:07), Hudson’s Jacob Russo (17:16), Firestone’s Sam Michael (17:34) and Wooster’s Christopher Cannon (17:37).
“Stewart ran a really smart race and did a great job,” Green coach Jake Saylor said. “I think he had a big advantage with this being our home course. He laid back a little bit the first mile and a half, and then once they got back into the woods and at the two-mile mark where it goes uphill he started to make his move.”
Hudson won the boys team title with 27 points under coach Mark McConnell, and the Explorers won the girls team title with 30 points under coach Jamie Davis.
Wadsworth (56), Wooster (94), Aurora (130) and Green (131) were second through fifth in the boys team standings. The girls team standings featured Aurora (60), Wooster (63), Green (81) and Wadsworth (137) second through fifth.
Aurora senior Olivia Grohe finished second in the girls race in 20:20. Wooster’s Maddy Nacci (20:55), Green’s Kaleigh Renninger (21:10) and Hudson’s Kalli Barrett (21:17) rounded out the top five.
“I thought it was really hot, but this was a nice win to get in the first meet,” Hinkle said. “The time is fine for the first race, but I will just keep improving. ... I want to make it to the state meet and keep getting better every time we race.”
Also in the top 11 were Hudson’s Ashley Gorze (21:19) and Hannah Teed (21:19), Wooster’s Isabelle Cannon (21:25) and Tracy Morgan (21:28), Aurora’s Brynn Sesny (21:35) and Hudson’s Cameron Bujaucius (21:40).
“It was a great run for Elizabeth,” Davis said. “She did everything she needed to do. She paced off of another girl until about two-thirds of the way into the race. We had talked about pacing off another girl and with a half mile left she did what she needed to do and won the race.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.