Tallmadge girls cross country shakes off struggles to beat Roosevelt

Roger Gordon

It took a while, but the Tallmadge girls cross country team finally performed at a level that head coach Jeremy Huth believed it could.

The Blue Devils improved to 2-2 by defeating Suburban League American Conference rival Theodore Roosevelt 15-49 Sept. 16 at home.

“We’d been struggling up to this point but running well in practice, so I knew the girls had it in them to run well,” Huth said. “We had favorable conditions. The course is in a lot better shape than it was, and the weather was somewhat overcast and cooler temperatures. When the girls finished and we looked at the times, it definitely was an indication of what they’re capable of doing.

“This meet was a huge confidence booster. It just proves that what we do in practice can correlate to what we should be doing in the meets. This was the first time this season at the end of the race that the girls were smiling at the finish line because they knew they ran well. They looked well, too; they looked strong, confident, throughout the race.

“They approached the race a little differently than they had been, going out a little more controlled and kind of staying together. And they ended up running as good, if not better, than they had all season. They definitely learned a lot in this meet about how to race.”

Leading the way for Tallmadge was junior Ana Crangle. She won the meet with a time of 20 minutes, 56 seconds.

“Ana ran much more controlled at the beginning of the race than what she’d been doing lately,” said Huth. “By doing that, she ran spectacularly. She had a commanding lead throughout the second and third miles and just comfortably ran by herself again.”

Freshman Cara Basso finished second with a personal-best time of 21:55.

“Ana kind of helped Cara along the first mile-and-a-half, and then Ana kind of pulled away a little bit,” Huth said. “And I think that helped Cara out, just being comfortable and relaxed and just running with a teammate. She held it together the rest of the race."

Senior Mackenzie Moran finished third with a time of 22:12, junior Katrina Hunt placed fourth with a time of 22:35 and senior Kelsey Bellman was fifth with a clocking of 22:49.

“Mackenzie has been in our top five all season, but by far this was her best race of the season,” said the coach. “Her time would indicate that that’s probably where she should be right now. She kind of ran by herself the second half of the race and was able to hold it together and finished with a decent time.

“Katrina also improved a lot from the previous couple races, so she’s definitely headed in the right direction. I hope she can build off this and continue to improve.

“Kelsey was able to hold on and finish just behind Mackenzie and Katrina. For her to make an impact on the team this year, which we need her to do, she has to keep working hard and be right there with Mackenzie and Katrina, both of whom ran at the state meet last year.”

The Blue Devils are set to host American Conference rival Copley Sept. 23 at 5 p.m.