STOW — For the Cuyahoga Falls cross country teams, the focus throughout the season has been getting ready — and staying healthy — for the postseason.
The last stop on that journey before the league meet had Falls make the short trip to Silver Springs Park in Stow Oct. 5 for the Stow Bulldog Invitational.
While still not completely polished, Black Tiger girls coach Dan Scourfield noted Falls was trending upwards as the postseason approaches
Facing a field loaded with a state powers, Falls girls finished eighth in the 15-team field at Stow with 209 points. Massillion Jackson won the girls team title with 44 points.
Meanwhile, the Falls boys finished ninth at Stow with 212 points. Hudson dominated the boys race, winning with 57 points.
With weather and course conditions just about perfect for cross country running, Scourfield noted his team took advantage.
"I was pretty happy," Scourfield said. "Everybody was close to PRs [personal records] today. It looks like everyone is going in the right direction."
Senior Aiamayia Dudley continued to lead the Black Tigers, as she just missed a top 10 finish at Stow, taking 11th place in in 18:48.19.
Scourfield noted he felt Dudley could put down some even faster times in the postseason, as she is still leaning how to run the 5000-meter course.
Fellow senior Meredith Gallagher also earned a top 20 finish, as she finished 20th in a time of 20:28.13.
Falls had Elsa Lowery (54th, 22:02.94), senior Chelsea Huffman (59th, 22:02.94) and Tegan Barnett (77th, 22:41) rounded out the scoring runs for Falls.
"Chelsea Huffman ran a good race for us," Scoufield said.
Falls had Kearan Barnett (94th, 23:30.8) and Kara Hermann (101st, 24:05.09) finished in the varsity positions for Falls, while sophomore Becca Johnson (24:50.81), and senior Zoe King (25:40.99) also ran at Stow.
"It was good that we saw Hudson and Jackson, to see what they are capable of," Scourfield said. "I think we’re running well as we head into the league meet."
On the boys side, there was a bit of joy and frustration for the Black Tigers’ top runners.
The joy came from from sophomore Koby Dunford, who not only finished eighth in the boys race, but did so in a personal best time of 16:30.23
"Coby ran his best race ever," said Falls coach Chris Wilcoxson. "He continues to be right where we need him to be."
However, senior Jack Wilcoxson showed some frustration as he exited the course. Wilcoxson just missed a top 10 finish, taking 12th place in 16:39.91.
Coach Wilcoxson said he had not problems with his son’s effort.
"The runner always has their own goals and I know Jack’s are high," coach Wilcoxson said. "I wanted my son to be healthy heading into league meet and he is."
Coach Wilcoxson said the rest of his team had as solid performance at Stow, Logan Urich (55th, 16:50.73), Lukas Keverkamp (69th, 18:07.74) and senior Andrew Sondles (87th, 18:30.84) rounded out the scoring runs for Falls.
"Ulrich ran great. Keverkamp ran great. It was just an all-around good day for us," Wilcoxson said.
Zach Langbien (114th, 18:55.68) and Sterling Hanselman (131st, 18:43.28) finished in varsity positions for Falls.
"it’s baby steps to the postseason for us," Wilcoxson said.
Falls set to run at the Suburban League Meet Thursday.
The Black Tigers will open the postseason at the Division I district meet at Canton GlenOak High Oct. 19. Girls race is at 12:30 p.m.with the boys race at 3 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO