The Hudson boys cross country team lost some quality runners from a year ago.

Since those standout athletes were instrumental in the Explorers’ back-to-back Division I state championship teams, such a fact is quite alarming.

Or so it seems.

Hudson won its second invitational in as many weeks after placing first at the 23-team Mentor Cardinal Classic Saturday at Garfield Park. The Explorers scored 59 points. The host Cardinals were the runners-up with 75 points and Solon finished third with 85 points.

Rumors have been swirling around Hudson Aurora Road regarding a potential off-year for the Explorers.

So far, such rumors have been pure nonsense.

"With the volume of guys who graduated, they’ve been told it could be a down year," Hudson head coach Mark McConnell said. "I think some people would look forward to the relaxed atmosphere. That’s not the case with our guys. They don’t want it to end."

Medina’s Harry Custer won the 182-member race with a time of 16 minutes, 13.9 seconds. The Explorers, on the other hand, let their depth dictate the race. Hudson had three runners place in the top 10.

Titan Casey led the way with a fourth-place clocking of 16:16.29. Andrew Goldslager was next for the Explorers in sixth (16:16.83) and Jack Root captured 10th (16:29.93).

Rounding out the top five for Hudson were Gabe Shale (15th, 16:48.59) and Ethan Smith (25th, 16:59.07).

"They did what they had to do," McConnell said. "The course was sharp and it had hard turns. We encouraged the guys to get in position early because it was very difficult to pass people. We also faced good competition."

As for the so-called rebuilding plans, they may have to be put on hold for another year. Perhaps another several years.

"They’re motivated to embrace the tradition," McConnell said. "They are pressing forward to continue our excellence. It’s kind of exciting."

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, or @FrankAceto_RPC.