Stow-Munroe Falls cross country coach John Roseman puts all of his emphasis on the end of the season, not the beginning.
If the first meet of the season means anything, however, it showed the Bulldogs girls are off to a solid start, while the boys have work to do.
Both teams opened their season Sept. 2 at the Suburban League Super Duals at Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton.
Stow's girls squad opened the season with a 4-3 record at the duals. Hudson won the girls title, going 7-0.
The girls defeated Brecksville-Broadview Heights 22-38, North Royalton 21-39, Cuyahoga Falls 18-43 and Wadsworth 18-41, while losing to Nordonia 28-31, Hudson 23-36 and Twinsburg 24-33.
However, it was a rough day for the Stow boys team, as the Bulldogs finished 0-7 at the duals. Again, Hudson won the title, going 7-0.
The Bulldog boys lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights 19-38, North Royalton 25-30, Twinsburg 25-30, Hudson 17-46, Cuyahoga Falls 25-35, Wadsworth 17-46 and Nordonia 25-30.
"I was pleased on the girls' side because Tessa [Pitcovich] hasn't really done much because she's coming back from a stress fracture," Roseman said. "We had a lot of positives in the girls race. We're not where we will be at season's end.
"For the boys, it was tough competition, there's no doubt about that," Roseman added. "We just didn't run well. We had a couple good races, but three not-so-good races. It wasn't a stellar day for us.
"If I was really going after this meet, I would have made sure we ran somewhere last week. I'll take partial responsibility for what happened."
This was the debut race for the course at Silver Creek. Roseman was generally impressed with the new course.
"It's nice to have a permanent course like that. It's almost too good," Roseman said. "I thought it was going to run a lot faster than it did. The first mile was fast, but the second mile was not fast."
In the girls race, junior Sophia Perez led the Bulldogs, finishing in ninth place in 20:14, but sophomore Mackenzie Cassiday was not far behind, taking 11th place in 20:23.
"It was worried about [Cassiday]. She didn't look good [in the preseason], but she really stepped up," Roseman said. "[Perez] ran that not feeling 100 percent. I'm really encouraged by that."
Freshman Jocelyn Shatraw had a solid start to her high school career, finishing in 27th place in 20:49.
"You never know how they'll react in a varsity race. She stepped up," Roseman said. "We knew she was good. We saw her run at Kimpton."
Meanwhile, Roseman said Pitcovich ran well in her first race after the stress fracture, finishing 44th in 21:29.
Senior Kayla Valente rounded out the scoring runs for Stow, taking 47th in 21:38.
Junior Emily Wisniewski (50th, 21:47), junior Shelby Gluth (57th, 22:01), senior Annaleigh Koch (70th, 22:19), freshman Julianna Shatraw (87th, 22:53) and junior Kamryn Drach (92nd, 23:05) also ran varsity for Stow.
Medina Highland's AnnaMarie DiGiacco won the individual title in 18:51.
On the boys' side, senior Jonathan Holtz was Stow's top finisher, taking 11th place in 16:54.
"He did alright," Roseman said. "He struggled during track season, so I think he's coming back. There's some things we need to work on."
Roseman said sophomore Cole Shawala ran "a really nice race" after taking 37th in 17:41, but the rest of the Stow boys struggled.
Sophomore Jason Anzaldi (52nd, 18:04), sophomore Patrick Bunnell (58th, 18:08) and junior Connor Jenkins (78th, 18:42) rounded out the scoring runs.
Freshman Patrick Kline (90th, 19:06), junior Matthew Rhode (99th, 19:13), junior Drew Decker (104th, 19:24), junior Ben Johnson-Bowe (106th, 19:25) and senior Ethan Rosser (117th, 19:44) also ran the varsity race.
"You look at our top seven / we're really young," Roseman said. "They are a work in progress."
Stow was set to run at the Tiffin Carnival Sept. 10, but results were not available at press time.
Up next for Stow is the Spartan Invitational at Boardman Sept. 17. The Division I boys race will run at 1 p.m., with the Division I girls race at 2 p.m.