Considering his opponent featured several runners from a state-title winning cross country team, Cuyahoga Falls head boys track and field coach Robert Hoon knew what he was up against.
Let’s just say it was a rather humbling lesson.
The host Black Tigers suffered a lopsided 123-14 defeat to Hudson Wednesday at Laybourne Field.
The Explorers are the reigning two-time Division I state champions in cross country. With the loss, Falls dropped to 0-2 in the Suburban League National Conference.
"We faced a strong, deep Hudson team," Hoon said. "It was a great opportunity for our young guys to get a lot of action and run in some very competitive and highly contested races.
"Although we had a tough day overall in terms of both points and individual performances, we are continuing to improve each week. I have high expectations and confidence."
Tony Sondles picked up the Black Tigers’ lone win. He won the 400-meter race in a time of 52.97 seconds.
"Tony also ran a strong anchor leg of the 4x400 relay with a split time of 54.82," Hoon said.
Jacob Carleton captured second in the 300 hurdles with a personal-best clocking of 43 seconds.
Christian Casto placed second in the high jump with a personal-best leap of 5 feet, 4 inches. He also had personal-record times in both hurdle races.
Also achieving a personal record for Falls was Tyler Robinson, who had a vault of 8-6 in the pole vault.
The Black Tigers finished seventh with 47 points at the 12-team Lakeview Relays April 5 in Cortland. Lakeview won the competition with 77 points.
The throwers led the way for Falls, which was just two points away from fourth-place Western Reserve Academy.
The distance trio of Blake Ross, Ryan Freeman and Evann Reid combined for a first-place total of 328-11 in the discus.
"Blake, Ryan and Evann continued their strong start to the season," Hoon said. "As a coach, their steady performances and dedication to both technique and improvement is spectacular. Not only are they great throwers, they are even better kids."
Freeman, Reid and freshman Zak Dalton led the shot-put relay to a second-place total of 120 5 ¼.
The camaraderie of the throwers is unparalleled," Hoon said. "The seniors have taken the younger guys under their collective wings and work tirelessly with them and are eager for them to succeed.
"I think at one point, Ryan, Evann and Blake were nearly as proud of Zak as I was. That is truly what senior leadership is all about."
The Black Tigers also won a race. The 3,200 team of Matey Pavinger, Anthony Nichols, Sondles and Jack Wilcoxson crossed the finish line in 8:43.68. They triumphed by nearly 18 seconds.
"All four ran between 2:05-2:13 each and were consistent throughout," Hoon said. "I believe they said they were ready to run a few more miles afterward, so I made sure to make a mental note of that."
Van Strausser tied his personal record and Tyler Robinson had a personal-best vault in the pole vault. Robinson achieved this despite an injured finger.
"Tyler has improved exponentially this season and is certainly gutsy," Hoon said.
Casto set a personal record in the high jump for the third week in a row and also ran the 110 shuttle hurdles and 800 relay teams without any rest.
Despite his busy several minutes, Casto had personal-best splits in both races.
Hoon also was pleased to see first-time long jumper Jaylen Powlowski reach 17 feet. Powlowski competed in the long jump and was a member of the 400 relay team, as well.
The Black Tigers’ other top-five team was the 6,400 relay of Tommy Farmer, Koby Dunford, Lukas Keverkamp and Zach Langbein. That unit placed fifth in 20.55.84.
Falls did not compete in the shuttle hurdles at the Frank Longstreth Relays the previous week.
On April 5, Casto and Jaiden Porincak competed in the hurdle events for the first time in their careers.
"Both Christian and Jaiden are incredible athletes with enormous potential," Hoon said. "With veteran hurdlers Jacob Carleton, who ran a very impressive 16.5 seconds, and Noah McClendon, the four competed well in shuttle hurdles for the first time in their respective careers."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.