STOW — The Hudson boys cross country team was on a mission Saturday at the Stow Bulldog Invitational: Beat Cleveland St. Ignatius.
When word got out the only team to have beaten the Explorer boys this season brought its ‘A’ team to Stow, Hudson set out to make a statement against the Wildcats — and delivered it loudly.
The Hudson boys dominated the field at Stow, winning with 20 points and finishing with all its scoring runners in the top 10. The Wildcats finished second with 57 points.
Meanwhile, the Hudson girls were nearly as dominant at Stow, wining the race with 43 points. Chardon was second with 74 points.
"I was thoroughly impressed by our performance," said Hudson boys coach Mark McConnell. "We had not had our top lineup together for a while and we wanted to perform well against Ignatius. We needed a confidence booster. Everything was one today."
Heavy rains before the invitational turned the course at Silver Springs Park into a muddy slippery mess. It was so bad that senior Adam Beucler lost a shoe early in the race.
"I lost in the first 100 meters of the race," Beucler said. "My mom handed it it back to me midway through. It was like a football handoff."
Beucler thrived with one shoe on, even to the point he had to ease up when running with teammate Evan Manley.
"I was hurting on the hill," Manley said. "We made a deal. He said if Iet him win, he wouldn’t go out faster."
Thus, Beucler repeated as individual boys champion at Stow in at time of 16 minutes, 35.18 seconds, just a step ahead of Manley in second (16:36.05).
Hudson also had Jacob Russo finish third in 16:38.49, Lucas Lay take fifth in 16:50.62 and Kenny McCaughey finish ninth in 17:00.6 to round out the scoring runs.
The Explorer boys also had Andrew Goldslager (16th, 17:20.20) and Alex Leisen (18th, 17:26.64) run the varsity race.
In the girls race, Hudson’s Brenna Buecler and Emmaline Hannan had the early lead on the field. However, Mayfield’s Nicole DiCicco, who fell in the first mile of the race, overtook the pair in the second half of the race to win in 19:40.98.
Beucler finished second in 19:46.76, while Hannan was third in 19:49.25.
"I do think they went out a little too fast," said Hudson girls coach Megan Petraska. "We have to work a bit on pace. It was pretty muddy. Everyone runs the same conditions, though."
Hudson’s Sydney Gallagher also finished in the top 10, taking sixth place in 20:04.99. Victoria Liesen finished 15th in 20:53.2 and Nicole Jurardo finished 17th in 21:07.77 to round out the scoring runs.
"We’re right about where we want to be," Petraska added.
Hudson will run in the Suburban League Championships Thursday at Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC