Tallmadge boys cross country edged by rival Aurora

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Heading into its meet at Aurora Sept. 2, Tallmadge head boys cross country coach Jeremy Huth was well aware that it was going to be the meet of the year in the Suburban League American Conference.

The Blue Devils hung in there but fell short 25-33. They are now 1-1 both overall and in the American Conference.

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“Head to head. No better place to find out how you compare to a team than to run a dual against just them,” Huth said. “We were excited, I was excited, trying to get the guys pumped up, but we came up short in the end.

“Aurora is by far the top team in the conference coming back from last year. I thought we definitely had a chance to compete with them, beat them. Overall, we weren’t really pleased.”

Tallmadge senior Tommy Naiman won the meet with a time of 16 minutes, 39 seconds, topping Aurora’s Matt Singleton, who finished 10th in the state last year in Division I, by one spot.

“Tommy trained all year, all summer, for this opportunity, and he just had a phenomenal race,” said Huth.

Senior Dawson Ansley finished fourth.

“Going into the meet, Dawson was a little banged up, so I’m just happy he got to run and compete,” Huth said. “He did the best he could based on the circumstances.”

Freshman Joey Naiman, Tommy’s brother, placed sixth.

“Joey has really stepped up. He has the will to compete. I love his attitude and effort. He wants to be as good as his brother,” said the coach. “For him to be a freshman and watch his brother have this success is a testament to what he did this summer … it’s going to be nice to have Joey for the next four years because he’s definitely going to be a leader real quick here the way he’s been racing.”

According to Huth, his team’s upperclassmen have got to come through with flying colors.

“The boys know there’s going to be adversity throughout a season and there’s going to be ups and downs,” he said. “Our upperclassmen we rely on. And when your number three runner is a freshman, our upperclassmen who have that experience need to step up.”

Tallmadge is scheduled to run at Woodridge, the defending Division II state champion, Sept. 8 at 4:30 p.m.