Despite having the regular cast of standout runners take the day off, the Hudson boys cross country held its own on the rugged roller-coaster hills at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Invitational in Peninsula.
Facing some quality teams and some state-ranked, the Explorers fared well at the 34th annual Woodridge CVNP Invitational Saturday at Kendall Hills.
In the team standings, Hudson placed third out of 28 schools with 131 points.
Woodridge, ranked third in Ohio’s latest Division II poll, won the team crown with 45 points. Brecksville-Broadview Heights placed second with 110 points.
"Overall, I was extremely happy with the team," said head coach Mark McConnell, who used a variety of experienced and young athletes from the junior varsity team and in the program.
"We had some runners from all age levels and I was pretty pleased. I thought the guys ran really well against some good competition."
Senior Brian Kinnear led the Explorer charge as he placed 20th overall with a strong time of 18 minutes, 32.8 seconds.
"Brian ran well and I was very happy that he led us," noted McConnell. "He had a good race."
Ethan Smith, an experienced junior, was next for Hudson as he was 23rd with a clocking of 18:40.
Freshman Titan Casey was third for Hudson as he crossed 26th in 18:46.4.
Finishing next for Hudson was veteran senior Blake Hartline, who was 28th with a time of 18:47.1.
"I thought our top runners all impressed against some strong competition," McConnell said. "I was very happy as the kids did not back down.
"We did a good job on a very challenging course with all of the hills. It shows that the kids put in the strength work in the summer."
Junior Colin Palmieri also ran well as he was 38th with a clocking of 19:03.6, followed by seniors Hunter Norman (42nd in 19:10.5) and Charlie Babcock (48th in 19:16).
"I was impressed with our depth in the program," McConnell said. "These kids don’t shy away from the challenge and to improve, and help make the team better."