There were plenty of talented cross country teams at the 31st annual Spartan Invitational at Boardman.

Both the boys and girls teams from Woodridge held their own in one of Ohio's largest meets.

The Woodridge girls did more than that -- the Lady Bulldogs won another team championship and this time, it was amongst 49 Division II teams at Boardman.

Head coach Jeff Howard saw his second-ranked boys team battle a slew of state-ranked teams at the Spartan Invitational. The Bulldogs placed second overall.

"The boys ran into a strong Bay Village team at the 55-team Spartan Invitational," said Howard, whose club lost to Bay 68-74.

Woodridge finished ahead of Ohio's fifth-ranked team from Rocky River (131), sixth-ranked Massillon Tuslaw (183), 15th-ranked Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (199), and 10th-ranked Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (342).

"The Rockets (Bay Village) are currently ranked just behind us in the state ranking with a third-place poll position," said Howard. "The Bulldogs ran well in the six-point loss."

It was a big showing for both Bulldog teams, which will run at the Boardman course for the Regional Championships Oct. 29.

Running strong, junior Noah Perrin paced Woodridge in the Division II race.

Perrin finished fourth overall out of a whopping 516 runners with a strong time of 16 minutes, 29.5 seconds. That was 37 seconds faster than Perrin's mark at 2015 Spartan meet.

"Noah continues to lead the squad while freshman Micah Blair finished well as our two-man on his birthday," said Howard.

Blair impressed in the big-meet setting as he crossed in 16:46.2 and in seventh-place!

"Yousef Elkurd, Ryan Palm, and Brayden Whited continue to represent our top five scorers," said the mentor.

A pair of veteran seniors, Elkurd and Palm have been huge contributors. Elkurd ran 17th overall in 16:58.5 while Palm crossed 19th in 17:02.3. Whited ran 32nd with a time of 17:25.4.

Senior Max Starvaggi ran 58th overall in 17:53.6 while junior Jack Willett crossed in 19:20.6.

The fourth-ranked Division II Woodridge girls impressed at Boardman with a 70-point victory (76-146) over second-place team Villa Maria Academy, a private school from Malvern, Penn.

Howard liked the win, which was over several state-ranked clubs, including 7th-ranked CVCA, which was third overall with 178 points.

"The Bulldogs women remained undefeated early in the 2016 season," he said. "We had five girls finish in the top 20 of the race."

Finishing in the top 20 for the Lady Bulldogs was senior Clare Willett, junior Molly Howard, senior Natalie Fleming, senior Nicole Fleming, and freshman Libby Howard.

Willett finished 10th overall out of 452 runners. She registered a strong clocking of 20:01.4, which was 29 seconds faster than what Willett ran last season.

"Clare continues to lead the way," said Howard. "She was chased across the line by Molly, Natalie, Nicole and Libby."

"Sarah Frederick and Jenna Kaiser continue to round out the varsity crew with strong performances," added the mentor.

Molly Howard was 14th overall and had a time of 20:21.2 and was followed by Natalie Fleming 18th in 20:27.3, Nicole Fleming 19th in 20;27.9, and Howard, who was 20th with 20:28.4.

A pair of sophomores -- Frederick and Kaiser finished 58th and 60th overall, respectively. Frederick crossed in 21:38.4. Kaiser improved her 2015 time by almost two minutes at 21:39.6.

Woodridge will host two upcoming events -- the Golden Spike Invitational Sept. 27 and the CVNP Invitational at Pine Hollow in Peninsula Oct. 1.


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