HEBRON — There was snow on the ground in Summit County when fans left Saturday morning for the state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
Their was no snow on the ground in Hebron, but freezing temperatures and high winds made life miserable for runners, who had to wait a week after the meet was postponed last weekend.
All these challenges proved no match for two of Summit County's cross country dynasties.
In the the Division II boys race, Woodridge claimed its eighth state title in the past 12 years, edging rival St. Vincent-St. Mary 109-118 to claim the title.
Hudson repeated as Division I boys state champion in the next race, winning with 107 points. Hudson became the first Division I public school team to repeat as state champion since Clayton Northmont in 1995-96.
St. V-M brought home two trophies. A few hours after his boys finished second to Woodridge, coach Dan Lancianese saw the Irish girls finish second in the Division II girls race with 142 points. Lexington won its third Division II girls title in four years with 72 points.
Division II boys
Woodridge coach Jeff Howard said temperatures in the 30s might have benefited the Bullodgs.
“These conditions are perfect for us,” Howard said. “We're blue collar. We like to run in any conditions. Nobody south of the I-70 was going to beat us today. These are Northeast Ohio conditions.”
Few runners were able to go for personal bests, but Woodridge won by putting its top three runners in All-Ohio places (which go to the top 30 runners). Junior Micah Blair led the Bulldogs, finishing fifth in 16:18.2, sophomore Ryan Champa was 16th in 16:47.7 and sophomore Zayd Elkurd was 22nd in 17:00.8.
“You just have to take it controlled on a course like this,” Blair said. “If our young guys would have gone out hard, they would have had nothing left for the finish.”
The Irish were led by senior Alex Phillip, who finished third in Division II in 16:16.5. The St. V-M boys also had senior Matthew Sollenberger (seventh, 16:32.1) and senior Colin Scahill (29th, 17:12.5) earn All-Ohio places.
Phillip said the conditions were the worst he'd ever run in.
“Third place makes up for a lot of it,” Phillip said. “[Lancianese] told me to get out and get clear. It's definitely disappointing to lose to [Woodridge], but I'm happy with what we did.”
Division II girls
“The big thing is we got three guys as All-Ohio and three girls as well,” Lancianese added. “Here, as in life, individual results count for something.”
The Irish girls had sophomore Theresa Hagey (eighth, 19:10.6), senior Nina Zraik (14th, 19:24.1) and freshman Amelia Moll (16th, 19:31) take All-Ohio places.
Elsewhere in Division II girls, Archbishop Hoban senior Bridget Hahn pushed as high as third place in the the second half of the race, but fell back in the homestretch, and finished sixth in 19:09.3.
“I thought [the course] was going to be worse than it actually was,” Hahn said.
Hoban's Hannah Schill finished 116th in 21:28.1.
It was a good day for Tallmadge, as juniors Kenna Loveless and Ravyn Edge each earned All-Ohio honors. Loveless finished in 17th place in 19:31, and Edge was 18th in 19:33.
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy's Isabella Payne just missed taking All-Ohio honors, finishing 31st in 19:57.
The Woodridge girls finished 16th in the Division II girls team race with 313 points.
Division I boys
Hudson boys coach Mark McConnell lauded his team for sticking with their game plan of tight running despite having to deal with an extra week.
“The week was tough,” McConnell said. “The guys were ready to run in any condition. They ran an amazing race. We had a plan and we stuck to it.”
Hudson's top pair of seniors Adam Beucler and Evan Manley led the charge again. Beucler finished 13th in 16:24.2 and Manley was 14th in 16:25.3. Senior Jacob Russo also took All-Ohio honors in 27th place (16:40.1)
Beucler said the course and conditions were “terrible.”
“It was rough,” he said. “You saw guys go down. We were joking that, after running for while, your arms and chest feel like one big muscle.”
Individually, the top local finisher in any race came from Twinsburg's Ryan Adkins. Adkins finished second in the Division I boys race with a time of 15:46.1, just finishing behind champion Conant Smith of Middletown (15:43.4).
“I'm pretty happy with this,” Adkins said. “It was a tough course. You've got to find a way to fight through it.”
Division I girls
A third-place finish from Brunswick's Emily Bardwell in 18:08 highlighted an otherwise tough day for the locals in the Division I girls race.
Medina finished sixth in the Division I girls team race with 216 points. Hudson finished ninth with 262 points. The Explorer did get one All-Ohio finisher, as sophomore Emmaline Hannah finished 19th in 18:57.7.
In Division III, Hope Murphy of Mogadore finished 98th in 21:45.4.