If you’ve followed Hudson’s winter sports teams in the 21st century, there are two words that seem to come to mind just about every single year.
Chlorine and leotards.
This season was no exception as the Explorers’ swimmers, divers and gymnasts paved the way for excellence once again on Hudson Aurora Road.
It seems like that’s the case every winter, isn’t it?
When it comes to the Hudson girls’ dominance in the pool, the answer is a resounding yes.
Led by seniors Paige McCormick and Giovanna Cappabianca, along with junior Mackenzie DeWitt, the Explorer girls earned their ninth consecutive top-10 finish at the Division I state competition last month.
Interestingly enough, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say the 2019-20 Hudson squad didn’t reach its lofty expectations. That’s because the Explorers finished third at the previous two state competitions.
Of course, that’s being a bit picky, wouldn’t you say?
The same could be said for McCormick, who could not duplicate her groundbreaking feat from a year ago.
In case you didn’t know, McCormick did not win the state title in the 500-yard freestyle for the second consecutive year.
Call me a softie, but I’m not holding a grudge.
McCormick, who plans to continue her academic and swimming careers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, is the most decorated female swimmer in Hudson history.
Consider this amazing fact: McCormick qualified for the state competition in all 16 of her events during her illustrious career.
And that’s not even the best part.
In those events, McCormick reached the podium — you guessed it — all 16 times.
Greatest female swimmer in Hudson history? She certainly gets my vote.
As for the guys, there was once a time when they set the standard for superiority regarding their expertise in atomic number 17.
Unfortunately, a smaller roster has hindered the Explorers in recent years.
Well, sort of.
The boys team, led by senior Caleb Tuckerman, finished a very respectable 23rd at the state meet.
That’s a pretty decent finish, wouldn’t you say?
As for Hudson’s gymnasts, it’s safe to say they’re "pretty decent" too.
Such a thought is an absolute fallacy in my humble opinion. When it comes to this freakishly athletic group, "spectacular" sounds far more appropriate.
Hudson finished fifth at the state competition last month. Like the swimmers and divers, the Explorer gymnasts have made this a habit for what seems like forever.
Hudson qualified for the state meet for the fourth time in the last five years. It also was the Explorers’ eighth appearance at this prestigious event in the last 11 years.
You could make the case that senior Julia Petty is, well, the gymnastics’ version of Paige McCormick.
That’s because Petty could be the most decorated gymnast in Hudson history. She certainly is since the 21st century began.
In a sport that is absolutely brutal to the human body, Petty concluded her career as a three-time state qualifier.
Petty, who suffered injury after injury, rode off into the sunset in style with her first trip to the podium.
Petty reached that prestigious platform after finishing fifth on the uneven parallel bars.
Chlorine and leotards weren’t the only things rocking for those who are partial to navy blue and white colors.
On Jan. 2, the Explorers’ boys basketball team was a modest 2-5 after suffering its fourth loss in its last five games.
Some two months later, Hudson completed a remarkable turnaround by going 14-2 prior to its loss to Warren G. Harding in Division I sectional play. By the way, that torrid stretch of basketball mastery included an 11-game winning streak.
And what can be said about Jack Burdett?
The Explorers’ 6-foot-6 senior center finished as the team’s all-time leader in rebounds, blocked shots, games played and … ready for this one? Assists. Sounds like a résumé for a future Hall of Famer, doesn’t it?
I also want to give props to Hudson’s wrestlers, who finished 8-4 in dual meets, ice hockey players (18-13) and girls bowlers (8-6) for their successful seasons.
Congrats to all of the athletes for another memorable winter. More importantly, stay healthy!
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_Gannett.