A pair of Woodridge cross country team championships highlighted the 31st annual Cuyahoga Valley National Park Invitational.

The CVNP, hosted by the Bulldogs Oct. 1 at Pine Hollow in Kendall Hills, featured a team title by the boys team as well as a championship by the girls squad.

Veteran Bulldog mentor Jeff Howard was pleased with the performances on and off the course.

"The Woodridge cross country family put on a tremendous meet in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park," he said. "Over 100 volunteers from our community made the event a success."

Woodridge boys, ranked a top the latest Ohio Division II poll along with Bay Village, edged Brecksville for the team title 55-68. Kenston, ranked 18th in Division I, was third (80).

Junior Noah Perrin looked strong again as he placed second out of 214 runners. The lone runner to beat Perrin was Twinsburg's Ryan Adkins, who won in 17 minutes, 13.0 seconds.

Perrin was clocked at 17:41.8, which bested his time a year ago.

"Noah continued his strong fall with a runner up finish that paced the Bulldogs to a team win," said Howard. "The guys had five runners finish in the top 25 as Yousef Elkurd, Micah Blair, Ryan Palm and Brayden Whited made up the scoring five.

"Greg Muha, Zach Conroy, Ryan Kiley, Nedal Elkurd, Kevin Dickon, and Riley Galehouse each ran well," added the coach.

Yousef Elkurd, a battle-tested senior, finished seventh overall, just in front of Blair. Elkurd was timed at 17:59.3, which is 21 ticks better than 2015.

Blair, a freshman, ran eighth with a strong time of 17:59.6.

Another strong senior, Palm, crossed 15th with a clocking of 18:31.5 while Whited was 23rd as the sophomore had a time of 18:56.6.

The Woodridge girls won the 20-team field with 38 points as Twinsburg (53) was the lone team in the mix with the Bulldogs.

Twinsburg was ranked ninth in the latest Division I state poll while Woodridge was ranked second in Division II behind Chagrin Falls.

Showing good balance, the Lady Bulldogs beat teams like Brecksville, Fort Loramie, Tallmadge. Akron Hoban, Aurora, and Hudson.

With four runners in the top nine positions, the Bulldogs were led by standout senior Clare Willett. Willett ran fourth overall out of 161 runners with a time of 21:31.

"Clare continues to run well as she paced the Bulldog women to another invitational win," Howard said. "The girls placed five girls in the top 12."

"Natalie Fleming, Nicole Fleming, Libby Howard, and Molly Howard made up the scoring crew while Sarah Frederick and Jenna Kaiser both grabbed top 25 finishes," added Howard, of his team's depth.

Senior twin sisters Natalie and Nicole Fleming placed sixth and eighth, respectively, while freshman Libby Howard finished ninth.

Natalie Fleming was timed at 21:46.5, followed by Nicole Fleming at 21:48, plus Libby Howard, as the freshman crossed in 21:48.8.

Molly Howard also ran well as the veteran junior placed 12th in 22:04.1.

Just a sophomore, Frederick ran 23rd in 23:01.5 while Kaiser was 24th as the sophomore crushed her 2015 time by 146 seconds. Kaiser's time was 23:04.9.

"(Freshman) Allison Palm grabbed a win in the JV race to pace this crew to a win as well," said the coach.

"Leah Stanfield, Jessa Patterson, and Halle Grant also had exceptional races," said Howard.

Woodridge looks for two more titles in the Portage Trail Conference Championships Oct. 15 in Atwater at the Randolph County Fairgrounds. Final results of the Oct. 8 Stow Bulldog Invitational weren't available as of press time.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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