The Hudson girls cross country team has the potential to be something really special when it’s all said and done.

It’s safe to say the Explorers look pretty special now.

Hudson won the 23-team Mentor Cardinal Classic Saturday at Garfield Park. The Explorers tied Medina with 58 points, but Hudson prevailed since its sixth runner finished with a faster time than the Bees’ sixth runner. The host Cardinals placed third with 104 points.

"It was really exciting," said Explorers head coach Megan Petraska, who was noticeably under the weather during the race. "You don’t usually see ties in cross country. We were counting in our heads and we knew it was going to be close."

Jordyn Hopgood sealed Hudson’s victory with a 23rd-place time of 20 minutes, 22.05 seconds.

"We were yelling at Jordyn to ‘Get across the line, girl,’" Petraska said. "She did a nice job."

Gates Mills Hawken standout Ella Gibson won the 167-member race with a time of 17:52.8.

Not surprisingly, Hudson used its lethal pack to accumulate its points. The Explorers had five runners finish in the top 18.

Sarah Weldon led the way with a fifth-place clocking of 19:37.94. Emmaline Hannan was next for Hudson in seventh (19:49.23).

Rounding out the top five for the Explorers were Sydney Gallagher (12th, 19:55.99); Brenna Beucler (16th, 20:05.63) and Story Jones (18th, 20:09.06).

"We’re really happy with where running at this point of the season," Petraska said. "We’re close together. Our gap from one through five is the lowest it has been in recent years. Our gap from one to seven is close too.

"Everybody is looking good. We’re not quite where we need to be, but we also shouldn’t be there yet. We’re just going to take one thing at a time. We were better this week than we were last week."