Nordonia cross country coach Mike Martin got a good view of what his teams were capable of at the Cleveland Running Co.’s "Run, Comet, Run" Invitational Saturday at the Cleveland MetroParks Polo Fields in Moreland Hills.
The two Knight teams each finished fourth at the Polo Fields, but Martin believes they could perform even better in the future.
The Knight boys finished fourth with 116 points, while Solon won the boys team title with 30 points. Meanwhile, Nordonia’s girls finished fourth with 79 points. Twinsburg won the girls’ team title with 58 points.
"I think we did OK. I thought the boys might have preferred a little better than girls this week," Martin said.
Nordonia’s boys came into the race missing three of its top varsity runners, as senior Matt Korodi was injured, while senior Tyler Mosher and junior Jaden Wimbush were held out "due to disciplinary reasons," according to Martin.
Worse yet, Martin said his team was devastated when senior James Hayes went down with a serious illness during the race.
"He would have been in the top 10," Martin said.
Despite all this, Nordonia got some solid performances, led by senior Jeff Sajovia. Sajovia ran a personal best time of 17:53.1, which earned him 12th place.
"That was a surprise to say the least," Martin said. "Jeff ran a great race."
Martin said he got good races from senior Nate Orzechowski, who finished 17th in 18:06.98, and sophomore Louis Hoover, who took 21st place in 18:29.07.
Rounding out the scoring runs for the boys were freshman Alex Bye (38th place, 19:22.7) and sophomore Nathan Lahrmer (40th, 19:30.06). Senior Robert Gironda (41st, 19:30.96) and junior Scott Mccabe (48th, 19:40.61) also finisihed in varsity places for Nordonia.
Martin said he’s interested to see what happens when he has his full squad available for the Suburban League Super Duals this Saturday.
"We’re going to have everybody back but James," Martin said.
On the girls side, Martin said he wanted to see a bit more from the Knights.
"I don’t think we ran particularly well," Martin said. "We’ve got some work to do. We’ve got to close the gap between [runner] one and [runner] five. It’s two minutes right now and that’s too big. I think we’ll be OK at the end of the year.
Martin said there was nothing wrong with sophomore Autumn Westbrooks performance, as Westbrooks took fifth place in a time of 20:42.41.
"The good thing is, Autumn just runs," Martin said. "She looked great."
Senior three-year letterwinner Abby Rice finished 12th in 21:32.67, while senior Ava Gravino was 17th in 22:12.16.
Seniors Kayla Vasharhelyi (19th, 22:19.73) and Hannah Hover (26th, 22:30.51) rounded out the scoring runs for the Knights, while senior Katelyn Kinch (37th, 23:25.56) and sophomore Mikayla Bell (40th, 23:35.4) also finished in varsity places.
The Suburban League Super Duals will take place Saturday at Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton. Boys varsity race is set for 9 a.m. with the girls varsity race at 9:30 a.m.
"Hudson’s boys and girls are the cream of the crop in the league right now," Martin said. "I think our boys can finish in the top three. Outside of Hudson, there’s a lot of teams that are right with each other. The Suburban Leauge is a great league."
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC