All season, the Hudson boys 3,200-meter relay team has stepped up to the challenge. The team did it again at the Austintown Fitch Division I regional meet, which concluded Wednesday.
Seniors Lucas Lay, Adam Beucler and Evan Manley and junior Luke Good combined to finish first with a season-best time of 7 minutes, 51.25 seconds, qualifying for the state meet.
"They ran so well because the competition around them got a lot better," Explorers head coach Mark McConnell said. "This relay has risen to the occasion each time the race has become more challenging and the competition has become better. They were aggressive, had confidence in their racing and had really good handoffs."
The top four finishers in each event qualified for the state meet. Two wild-card state berths combined with the other three Division I regionals were also awarded.
The state meet is scheduled to be held May 31 and June 1 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus.
The 3,200 relay team is set to run May 31 at 5 p.m.
Overall, Hudson finished fourth with 38 points. Solon won the 44-team competition with 67 points. Twinsburg finished second with 55 points and Massillon Washington placed third with 40 points.
"We weren’t going to be runner-up or champion, but they did a great job overall as a team," said McConnell.
Manley will be making a return trip to the state meet by way of capturing the 1,600 with a season-best time of 4:17.91. Last year, he was on the podium in the same event.
Manley is scheduled to run June 1 at 5:15 p.m.
"Evan ran a very tactical race, very smart," McConnell said. "He didn’t lead early. He let the guys kind of set the pace and push the issue. And then when the race got a little longer and later into the race, he took advantage, took the lead and kept it that way. It was very well done."
Also in the 1,600, junior Andrew Goldslager finished 13th with a time of 4:30.23.
Lay will be returning to Columbus as well after placing fourth in the 800 with a clocking of 1:55.97. He qualified in the same event a year ago.
Lay is set to run June 1 at 6:05 p.m.
"Lucas was within a second of his personal best," McConnell said. "He ran a smart race. It was a tight path for most of it and he kind of stayed to the outside and out of trouble. At the end of the race, he showed his speed."
Also in the 800, Good finished 15th with a time of 2:07.5.
Senior Adam Beucler punched a ticket to Columbus, too, by finishing fourth in the 3,200 with a season-best time of 9:18.86. He is set to run June 1 at 6:20 p.m.
"Adam ran strong," McConnell said. "He was right there with the leader for six laps and then towards the end of the race, he kind of put the brakes on to save what he wanted to do for the state meet and just secure qualifying. That’s what he was focused on doing."
Also in the 3,200, senior Jacob Russo finished eighth with a time of 9:35.01.
Sophomore Samoid Reed Jr. finished fifth in the 200 with a time of 22.77 seconds, barely missing a state berth. He also competed in the 100.
"Samoid was right there in the race, but he just couldn’t quite get the job done there at the end," McConnell said. "It was a good, quality field."
Lay, Good and seniors Hunter Norman and Dylan Manley, Evan’s brother, placed sixth in the 1,600 relay with a clocking of 3:25.56.
Senior Marcus Gaines tied for 10th in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet.