When I examined the situation back in August, I tried to figure out which team would be the cream of the crop at a certain institution not far from Route 303.
Actually, it was an easy choice.
My money was on the girls — the Hudson girls cross country team, that is.
With the boys distance squad losing five quality seniors, including four of its top five studs, my thought process went something like this: "The king is dead. Long live the queen."
As usual, I was wrong.
The Explorer boys continued their spectacular run with an eighth-place finish at the Division I state meet earlier this month.
They also won their sixth consecutive district title and their third straight Suburban League National Conference championship.
To top it all off, they participated at the state competition for a mesmerizing sixth consecutive year.
Therefore, my prediction was a colossal failure, right?
If you say so.
However, pardon me if I choose not to rest my case. That’s because Hudson’s 5K females weren’t exactly chopped liver either.
The Explorer girls finished a very impressive 10th at the state meet. They also won a district title and matched their male counterparts with a National Conference championship of their own.
So which behemoth will I choose to be superior in 2020?
Since fortune-telling isn’t exactly my thing, I’ll stay away from participating in such a futile task.
While Hudson was led by its massive array of fleet feet once again, the Explorers’ superiority wasn’t exactly lacking when it came to the rest of their extraordinary athletes.
In a plethora of sports, might I add.
After suffering its first rebuilding year since what seems like the days of the Byzantine Empire, Hudson re-established its imperial reign on the gridiron.
The Explorers finished 7-4 and returned to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. If you were caught off-guard by these helmet-wearing Barry Allen clones, don’t scold yourself.
Entering its 100th year on the gridiron, Hudson decided to flip the script.
And then some.
Thanks to their electrifying hurry-up offense, the Explorers broke several school records. More importantly, Hudson, along with Wadsworth and Brecksville-Broadview Heights, captured a piece of the National Conference title.
Not bad for a team that finished 3-7 the previous year, wouldn’t you say?
The Explorers also had a group of young ladies come a whisker short of reaching the state tournament for the second straight year.
Hudson’s field hockey team, the 2018 state runner-up, had another fine season after reaching the state-tournament qualifying match for about, oh, the 8,000th time. The Explorers also were the runners-up in the always vaunted Northeast Ohio Field Hockey League.
Shifting gears to the lone indoor sport, I must confess that I had a smirk on my face when head coach Brad Disandis made a bold prediction regarding his girls volleyball team.
Prior to last season, he told me Hudson will reach the Final Four in two years.
It looks like Disandis might be onto something.
The Explorers, who last reached the state semifinals six years ago, had their most successful season since 2014.
Hudson finished a very impressive 18-7 after four straight losing seasons. The Explorers also reached the Stow Division I district title match for the first time in four years.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m tempted to ask Mr. Disandis for lottery numbers.
As for the pitch, the expectations might not be quite so lofty.
Then again ...
The boys soccer team fell short of winning a prestigious trophy for the second consecutive year.
For many observers, such a disappointing outcome is unacceptable.
I beg to differ.
Hudson reached a district title game for the sixth consecutive year.
I have a hunch the Explorers’ leading man may have something to do with it.
Since Steve Knapp took over as the team’s head coach, Hudson has won two district championships. As for his other three seasons? Three district runner-up plaques.
Not too shabby, huh?
Like many of their aforementioned navy blue and white siblings, expectations are always high for the boys golf team.
The Explorers didn’t reach their ultimate goal of playing on the Gray Course in Columbus. But they didn’t exactly fall flat on their faces either.
Far from it, in fact.
After finishing as the runner-up to Stow-Munroe Falls in the National Conference standings, Hudson put it all together en route to winning a sectional title.
Does that sound like a massive letdown? I think not.
As for the ladies, the golf course didn’t resemble anything close to a house of horrors.
It was actually quite delightful.
Despite not having the services of future Hall of Famer Jenn David, the Explorers finished a very respectable second in the National Conference.
The girls tennis team did too. Hudson had a pair of district qualifiers, as well.
Surprised? Shame on you!
This kind of transcendent royalty has been the norm since Tim Morgan became the Explorers head coach 18 years ago.
Last but not least, I must give a shout-out to the girls soccer team.
After stunning losses to longtime rivals Cuyahoga Falls and Stow, the youthful Explorers appeared to be in dire straits.
That changed dramatically when it mattered most.
Hudson, which featured six freshmen on the squad, pulled it together to reach district play for the second consecutive year.
The Explorers got some revenge in the process too. They sent the National Conference champion Bulldogs packing to claim what was once considered a highly unlikely sectional championship.
Congratulations to all of Hudson’s athletic teams this fall. As for my prediction regarding next year’s crème de la crème, forgive me if it sounds ridiculously lame.
All of the above.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.