After five grueling weeks, the Cuyahoga Falls boys cross country team will get nearly two weeks off before its next competition.
Let’s just say the timing is perfect. The Black Tigers have been yearning for a race that features their full lineup.
An understrength Falls’ squad finished fifth with 109 points in the nine-team Division I race at the Malone Invitational. The race took place last Saturday at GlenOak High School in Canton.
Green won the competition with 43 points. New Philadelphia’s Nathan Loader won the race in 16 minutes, 32.2 seconds.
The Black Tigers were missing Jack Wilcoxson, who recently returned from an injury. Wilcoxson was unable to attend due to a prior engagement.
"I’d just like to have all seven of my top seven running," Falls’ first-year head coach Chris Wilcoxson.
Hopefully, that time will come soon for the Black Tigers, who have the coming weekend off. Falls is not scheduled to run again until Oct. 5 when it visits Silver Springs Park for the Stow Invitational.
The Black Tigers will certainly hope it’s a bit cooler when they visit Stow. As for the race in Canton, the cool breeze was just about nonexistent.
"It was like 20 to 30 seconds slower than normal because of the humidity," Wilcoxson said. "It was across the board. I looked at the times of CVCA [Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy] and Salem, it was the same thing. They were running far slower than their personal bests."
Koby Dunford, who has been Falls’ most consistent runner throughout the season, seemed to be oblivious to the heat. He led the way with an eighth-place clocking of 17:07.7.
"Koby continues to follow protocol," Wilcoxson said. "I’ve said that all season. He’s a true gauge of how we’ve done. He has done a great job."
Anthony Nichols was next for the Black Tigers in 10th with a time of 17:12.9.
Rounding out the top five for Falls were Logan Urich (22nd, 18:10.8), Lukas Keverkamp (26th, 18:20.3) and Athony Sondles (43rd, 19:07,5), who had been hindered by a back injury.
"I thought it was a nice day to run, but I wasn’t disappointed," Wilcoxson said.
Wilcoxson also had high praise for junior varsity runners Lucas Ulbricht, Corbin Luksza, Owynn Hudak, Sean Langbein and Caleb Pickering.
"The JV guys stepped up," Wilcoxson said. "Luksza and Ulbricht ran together from start to finish. They were close enough to bump somebody off varsity.
"Luksza, Ulbricht and Pickering are in the band. I appreciate their work ethic.
"The places don’t really matter as long as you’re hitting your numbers and doing your job right. We want to line up seven guys at districts and see where we stand."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.