Tommy Naiman finally broke the 17-minute barrier.
The Tallmadge junior cross country runner had a time of 16 minutes, 52.9 seconds, good enough for third place in the Division II race at the 14-team Ashley White Memorial Invitational Saturday at Marlington High School in Alliance.
"That was definitely Tommy’s best race ever," Blue Devils head coach Jeremy Huth said. "He had a good start. He went out with the leaders, which was pretty gutsy because there were definitely some good kids in that pack.
"He was able to keep in contact with them throughout the first mile. When he’s up in the front with that group, he definitely feeds off of just being confident. He was strong the entire race."
Overall, Tallmadge finished fifth with 133 points. Salem won with 85 points. Rounding out the top four were Field (88), Canton Central Catholic (96) and Crestwood (133).
"It was definitely an improvement from the week before," Huth said. "There were some pretty good individual performances. We had eight out of 15 kids who ran their best time ever, so it was definitely a meet that showed overall improvement. I definitely was happy with the outcome. Things are going well right now."
Individually, Marlington’s Noah Graham won the 147-member race with a time of 16:02.7.
Tallmadge junior Dawson Ansley finished ninth with a personal-best time of 17:37.6.
"Dawson is, by far, running the best out of any of our guys other than Tommy right now," Huth said. "He’s just continuing to improve, trying new things and pushing himself."
Rounding out the top five for the Blue Devils were juniors Ben Jurkowski (28th, 18:34.6); Jake Becks (45th, 19:07.5) and Jackson Queen (48th, 19:11.4).
"Jake is definitely showing that he’s going to be a key contributor this season," Huth said. "He has been in our top seven every meet."