All season long, the Hudson boys cross country team has had its sights set on winning the Division I state title.

After another dominant performance at its toughest competition yet, the moment has finally arrived for the Explorers.

Hudson easily won the 23-team Division I, Region 1 meet Saturday afternoon at Boardman High School.

The Explorers scored 51 points to advance to the state competition.

Also advancing to the state meet were Cleveland St. Ignatius (144), Medina (146), Bainbridge Township Kenston (176), Massillon Jackson (194), Mentor (218) and Lakewood St. Edward (232).

Hudson finished second at the state competition last year. The 2017 state meet is scheduled to take place Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. The boys race is set to begin at 3 p.m.

"This is what we were hoping to do," Explorers head coach Mark McConnell said. "We came into this race knowing anything can happen. It was our best race of the season."

Hunting Valley University School sophomore Justin Iler placed first out of 187 runners with a time of 15:48.96.

Junior Adam Beucler led Hudson with a third-place clocking of 15:50.32.

Senior Jack Good was next for the Explorers, who last won a state title in 2001, in seventh (16:04.38).

Rounding out the top five for Hudson were junior Evan Manley (12th, 16:09.45), senior Eric Halford (20th, 16:14.27) and junior Jacob Russo (21st, 16:15.47).

"The reason why were so dominant is Adam ran so well and everyone behind him ran well," McConnell said. "All of our guys finished ahead of St. Ignatius' first guy."

It had been an unseasonably warm autumn until Saturday's race.

"It was in the 40s with rain," McConnell said. "We knew the conditions were going to be a little rough. That's why we had the extra long spikes. We had them mentally prepared."

The Explorers, who were ranked No. 1 in the Division I state poll for much of the season, will be favored to win in Hebron.

But it won't be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.

"Our biggest competition looks like Mason, Centerville, (Cincinnati) St. Xavier and Hillard Davidson. We just need to do exactly what we did at regionals. If we do that, it will be difficult to beat us."


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