Every year, the Stow-Munroe Falls cross country teams participate in the Tiffin Cross Country Carnival and come home with some of its fastest times of the year.
However, Stow faced a different kind of challenge Sept. 9 at Hedges Boyer Park, as most of the team was dealing with sickness the week prior.
The Stow girls ran in the Division I "A" race at Tiffin and finished a respectable 10th place in the 31-team field with 292 points. Cleveland St. Joseph won the team title with 170 points, while Shaker was runner-up with 199 points.
Stow coach John Roseman was happy with his girls' efforts, given the circumstances.
"I wasn't sure what to expect. We've been sick. We had one good workout last week because of all the illness," Roseman said. "It wasn't our best [result at] Tiffin, but I was happy with 10th place in that race.
"I thought they belonged there [in the 'A' race]. They showed that they did. They got some good competition."
Meanwhile, the Bulldog boys ran in the Division I "B" race. Stow finished seventh in the field of 34 teams with 215 points. Cincinnati St. Xavier won the team title with 88 points, while St. Ignatius was second with 101.
The highlight of the meet for Stow was senior Jonathan Holtz winning the "B" race in a time of 16:49.7.
"We still have a couple guys that we've got to get going," Roseman said. "We did a little better than we did at the [Suburban] Super Duals."
Roseman said the course at Tiffin wasn't as swift as usual.
"I don't think it was quite as fast," Roseman said. "It was pretty windy that day, so that may have slowed it down a little bit."
In the girls' race, Stow's top five came home in the same order it did at the Super Duals.
Junior Sophia Perez was Stow's top finisher, taking 23rd place in 19:36.8. Brunswick's Felicia Pasadyn won the Division I girls "A" race in 18:28.5.
Mackenzie Cassiday just missed breaking the 20-minute barrier, as she finished 34th in 20:06. Freshman Jocelyn Shatraw had another solid race, taking 68th in 20:39.4. Both ran personal-record times.
Junior Tessa Pitcovich continues to round into form. She finished in 20:48.3 (77th place), while senior Kayla Valete took 90th in 21:03.4.
Emily Wisniewski (156th, 22:14.6) and Shelby Gluth (174th, 22:35.1) also ran the varsity race at Tiffin.
On the boys' side of things, it was a bit of a split race. Roseman was happy with the front of his pack, but needs the back end to improve.
Holtz won the varsity "B" race despite being about 20 seconds slower than his 2015 time at Tiffin. St. Xavier's Jack Cordonier was second in 16:57.5.
"Unless you're a stud, to win an invitational is a rare thing," Roseman said. "I hope he's enjoying it. He was pacing off [Cordonier] early on. In the second mile, he opened about a 20- or 30-foot lead. It was fun to watch."
Cole Shawala just missed a top 10 finish himself, as he took 11th place in 17:23.6.
Rounding out the scoring runs for Stow were Patrick Bunnell (43rd, 18:02.5), Connor Jenkins (48th, 18:07) and Matthew Rohde (112th, 18:53.8).
Also running varsity at Tiffin were Patrick Kline (140th, 19:16) and Jason Anzaldi (159th, 19:32.3).
"We're still trying to put the pieces together," Roseman said.
Stow was set to run at the Spartan Invitational at Boardman Sept. 17, but results were not available at press time.
Up next for the Bulldogs is the Todd Clark Invitational at Cloverleaf Sept. 24.