It's early, but with all the young talent at his disposal, longtime Cuyahoga Falls head boys cross country coach Bob Koch firmly believes there might be something special with his team.
"I have a lot of confidence in this group," he said. "They seem to be buying into the program. They really enjoy each other. They know it's a bigger picture than just themselves."
The Black Tigers may not be ready to dominate yet, but they are certainly making significant progress rapidly.
And that was the case Sept. 10 with their top runner out and two others not in the lineup because they took the ACT test.
Falls finished seventh with 152 points in the 13-team Division I race of the Walsh Tomahawk Run Sept. 10 at Walsh Jesuit High School.
Walsh won the competition with 85 points and Warren Howland (93) and Massillon Perry (113) placed second and third, respectively.
"The course was in great shape," Koch said. "It's usually muddy around the soccer fields. It was pretty much dry at the finish line.
"It was hot. We ran Seneca in the heat [earlier in the season]. The kids who ran well at Seneca ran well here and the kids who ran well at Super Duals [Sept. 3] didn't run so well here."
Walsh's Nathaniel Ondracek won the race with a time of 16 minutes, 59 seconds. A total of 110 runners competed.
Freshman Anthony Nichols led the Black Tigers with a 14th-place time of 17:54.
Nichols picked up the slack with Falls' top runner, senior Kyle Wilson, out due to illness.
"Anthony really stepped up in the second mile," Koch said. "He got his PR [personal record] by 30 seconds."
Koch hoped to have Wilson back in the lineup Sept. 17 at the Galion Cross Country Festival. Results were not available at press time.
"Kyle is our senior leader," Koch said. "He provides stability with all the freshmen we have."
Not far behind Nichols was junior teammate Bronson Luksza, who placed 19th (17:58).
Freshman Jack Wilcoxson was third for Falls in 24th (18:11).
Rounding out the top five for the Black Tigers were junior Jay Wilson (40th, 18:46) and freshman Anthony Sondles (56th, 18:16).
Also participating for Falls was freshman Andrew Kuntz (67th, 19:16).
The Black Tigers will take the following weekend off and are set to run again at the Columbiana Clipper Invitational Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m.