The Hudson boys cross country juggernaut qualified for the state championships for the sixth consecutive year.
However, the only thing missing for the defending two-time state champion Explorers was a regional team title.
For the first time in three years, Hudson did not win a regional team title. The Explorers finished second with 134 points at the Youngstown Division I regional meet Saturday at Boardman High School.
Chagrin Falls Township Kenston won the challenging 24-team competition with five runners in the top 47 places and 126 points. The top eight teams advanced to states.
Also advancing were Cleveland St. Ignatius (178), Solon (179), Louisville (194), Hunting Valley University (223), Medina (262) and Massillon Jackson (287).
"You always like to win when you have the opportunity to," Explorers head coach Mark McConnell said. "In the most difficult regional, a runner-up finish is no slouch.
"It was not our finest race, but we survived the grind and we did so in not ordeal conditions [rain and high wind gusts], which is good."
The Explorers will get a chance to compete for another state crown. They are scheduled to compete at the state meet Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. The boys’ race is set to take place at 3 p.m.
At Boardman, Goldslager ran among 196 total runners as University’s Justin Iler won the race with a time of 15 minutes, 47 seconds.
Senior Andrew Goldslager led Hudson with a seventh-place clocking of 16:22.66. The course was not too muddy, but the wind was a factor.
"Andrew ran a phenomenal race," McConnell said. "He was strong and he led us well.
"I thought that Andrew got out of that middle of the pack and then moved up very well. He did a great job."
In 2018, Goldslager ran 67th at regionals with a time of 17:44.35.
Sophomore Titan Casey was next in for the Explorers as he finished 25th in 16:39.93.
"Titan is doing well and getting valuable experience in his first truly high-stakes meet and in his first regional meet," McConnell said.
Rounding out the top five for the Explorers were junior Jack Root, who finished 32nd with a time of 16:45.65, senior Luke Good, who placed 36th with a clocking of 16:53.36, and junior Kyle Betz, who ran 70th in 17:10.92.
Other than Goldslager, Root was the only other Hudson runner to run in regional action last fall. Root finished 120th overall at the 2018 Youngstown regional meet.
"Jack [Root] is coming along well and both Luke [Good] and Jack continue to run well and have had good seasons," McConnell said. "They all had strong races."
Seniors Ethan Smith (79th overall in 17:16) and James Banko (93rd in 17:23.73) also ran for the Explorers at Spartan Stadium.
Hudson will have a target on its back for the upcoming state championships.
"As a coach, all you can do is to mentally and physically prepare your kids to be in a position to compete the best that they can," McConnell said.
"I think the focus is there and the kids are determined going into states. We will stick with our plan and put a tough regional behind and prepare to do our best."
In the pre-regional Ohio Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I state poll, Cincinnati St. Xavier was ranked first, followed by Hudson, Mason, Solon, Pickerington North, Gahanna Lincoln, Kenston and Hilliard Davidson.
Receiving only one of the 12 first-place votes in the poll could give the Explorers the needed fuel to three-peat, but the runners still have to compete and finish.
"That’s why they run the races," McConnell said.