Nordonia cross country coach noted his Knights had not been back to the Pat Ritchie Invitational at Walsh Jesuit for a few years.
While the course at Walsh was in better shape than in years past, the field at Walsh took a the measure of the Knights.
Nordonia’s boys finished 10th in the 12 team Division I boys race with 200 points. In the Division I girls race, the Nordonia girls finished 11th in the 12-team field with 274 points.
Martin said his team’s may have been a bit tired heading into Walsh, as they had gone through two straight weeks of tough training, having not run in a meet over Labor Day weekend.
"I’m guessing the men and women were a bit tired after that," Martin said. "That’s OK during this time of year.
"I think the course was a little slower than what we had at Solon," Martin added. "I was overall happy with our effort."
Martin noted the Knights’ inexperience was on display against some of veteran squads at Walsh.
"Looking where [senior] Jayden [Wimbush] was, he should always be in the top five or 10," Martin said. "I think some of our young sophomore and freshmen learned something as the day went on. They learned you need to go out more aggressive than they did. We just need to adapt and learn to do that.
Wimbush was Nordonia’s top performer, as the Knights No. 1 ran with the top pack for the entire race.
Wimbush finished fifth in a time of 16:39.33, as he was edged by Hoover’s Blaze Fichter for fourth (16:39). Massillon Perry’s Devin Halter won the Division I boys race in 16:21.08.
Martin said he’d like to see a bit more from his top runner going forward.
"We going to ask him to engage earlier in the race," Martin said. "He does a great job running steady for all three miles. We’ve got to be a little but closer to the front. At this week at Boardman, he needs to be in the top 10 or 15."
Senior Jeff Sajovie came in next for Nordonia, taking 30th place in 17:35, while freshman Chris Turner was 35th in a time of 17:37.49.
"I think Jeff Sajovie ran a pretty good race. Chris Turner ran a good race, even though he was a bit slower than a couple of weeks ago," Martin said.
Sophomore Jacob Colbert (70th, 18:13.92) and junior Robert Woff (71st, 18:14) came in together to round out the scoring runs for the Knights.
Sophomore Alex Bye (75th, 18:18.39), senior Scott McCabe (76th, 18:20.05), junior Evan White (82nd, 18:36.86) and freshman Nathan Gerhart (86th, 18:40.45) also ran in the varsity race for Nordonia.
"i think we’ve got some guys in the JV race that our going to push us in the second half of the season.
For the Nordonia girls, No. 1 runner junior Autumn Westbrooks led the Knights by finishing 18th in 20:47.83. Chardon’s Andrea Mann won the Division I girls race in 19:22.64.
"We tried a few different things with Autumn this week," Martin said. "We wanted her to go out hard in the first mile and that probably cost her in the last 800 meters. That’s fine, because it was something that we directed her to do."
Junior Mikayla Bell finished 58th in 22:41.95, while junior Greta Heiser finished 67th in 22:58.58.
Freshmen Leah Lammers (81st, 23:38.99) and Meg Picoult (86th, 24:00.88) rounded out the scoring runs for Nordonia.
The Knights also had senior Nicole Gehart (92nd, 24:47.08), sophomore Grace Sajovie (97th, 25:30.64) and senior Charlotte Turci (103rd, 26:54.08) run the varsity race.
Nordonia is up for another big test this week, as the Knight will run Spartan Invitational at Boardman Saturday. This meet features most of the best teams in Northeast Ohio, as it is run on the same course at the regional meet.
The Division I boys race at Boardman will be at 9 a.m. with the Division I girls race at 9:30 a.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO