It hasn't happened often since the Suburban League expanded to 15 teams and two conferences. But it's something to savor every time it does occur.
The Cuyahoga Falls girls cross country team earned a Suburban League National Conference victory. And what makes it sweetest of all is this: It took place against its archrival. The Black Tigers didn't have a glittering record at the Suburban League Super Duals Saturday at Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton. But they got a rare conference win.
Falls finished 1-6 in the National Conference with a 25-30 victory over Stow-Munroe Falls.
Hudson, which finished fourth at the 2017 Division I state meet, won the title with a 7-0 record. Wadsworth was next with a 6-1 record and Twinsburg took third (5-2).
The Black Tigers nearly got a second win. They were edged out by Brecksville-Broadview Heights (25-30).
Falls also was defeated by North Royalton (21-35), Twinsburg (20-36), Hudson (15-50), Wadsworth (17-43) and Nordonia (24-34). "We were right there [against Brecksville]," Black Tigers head coach Dan Scourfield said. "It was mission accomplished, but we don't want to make it sound like our mission was just to beat Stow.
"Given the humidity, they ran about as well as they could run. We're still trying to piece together our middle of the pack."
Highland's Kaylie Kenne placed first out of 129 runners with a time of 19 minutes, 8 seconds. Junior Meredith Gallagher led the Black Tigers with a 29th-place clocking of 21:37. Not far behind was senior teammate Valerie Deighton, who finished 36th in 21:57.
"Meredith ran well and Valerie had a really good day," Scourfield said. "Valerie took a step forward. She ran more to what she is capable of running."
Rounding out the top five for Falls were senior Melody Lewis (50th, 22:35), junior Chelsea Huffman (64th, 23:02) and freshman Elsa Lowry (85th, 23:43). "Melody continues to run like she did when she was a sophomore," Scourfield said. "Elsa had a day she wants to forget.
"I told all the freshmen, 'You learn something every race. Every race and course is different.' They're still learning how to run the 5k."
Seniors Anna Johnston (13th, 23:58) and Alivia Hamric (14th, 24:09) led Falls in the junior varsity race.
The Black Tigers are scheduled to compete at the Pat Ritchie Invitational Saturday at Walsh Jesuit High School. Racing is set to begin at 9 a.m.
They are set to run at the Galion Cross Country Festival Sept. 15 at 4 p.m.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.