Head coach Jeremy Huth believed his Tallmadge boys cross country team had a legitimate shot of advancing to the Division II state meet in Hebron.
The Blue Devils needed to finish as one of the top six teams Saturday at a regional competition at Boardman High School.
Unfortunately, they wound up 10th out of 19 teams with 264 points.
Woodridge won the competition with 55 points. Also qualifying were Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (63), Bay Village Bay (92), Massillon Tuslaw (196), Salem (212) and Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (225)
"I thought if we ran what we were capable of running, we would’ve finished in the top six," Huth said. "I was disappointed at how the season ended, but the preparation, focus and determination that these guys had going into the meet was right on.
"It was raining off and on all day and it was muddy and sloppy. The conditions were horrible. It was 45 degrees."
The top 24 individuals advanced to the state meet.
Sophomore Tommy Naiman led Tallmadge with a 31st-place time of 17 minutes, 42.78 seconds.
Senior Zach Brown finished 52nd with a clocking of 18:10.91
"I thought Tommy and Zach would be right around 30th, but I also thought that they could run themselves into a top-24 position," Huth said. "We had talked about the two of them getting off to a good start and they did.
"I think in the first mile, Tommy was about 16th and Zach was around 20th, which is a little aggressive, but I was OK with that because of the conditions. After the first mile, they both started to fade. It’s tough to hold that pace. You have to be prepared for it."
Alex Phillips of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary finished first out of 158 runners with a time of 16:31.22
Rounding out the top five for the Blue Devils were sophomores Dawson Ansley (63rd, 18:19.37); Jackson Queen (94th, 18:45.91) and Ben Jurkowski (100th, 18:50.69).
"Dawson definitely advanced through the pack, so he was moving up throughout the race," Huth said. "He has been doing that all season long. He has figured out the type of runner he is.
"Jackson has improved immensely. Hopefully, this is what motivates him to dedicate himself to this sport and improve for next year.
"Ben is a very talented runner. He probably has the best running mechanics of anybody on our team. He just needs to utilize that and continue to get stronger and keep running.
"We expect big things out of all three of those guys and Tommy too, next season. I’m proud of all of them."