Tallmadge boys cross country have solid outing at Jackson

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

It came down to a tiebreaker, but the Tallmadge boys cross country team was edged Sept. 19 by host Massillon Jackson in the end. 

Both teams scored 38 points. The sixth-place runner on each squad accounted for the tiebreaker, and the Polar Bears’ sixth-place runner finished 15th, while the Blue Devils’ sixth-place runner, senior Jackson Queen, was 18th with a time of 17 minutes, 40 seconds. Wooster finished in third place with 46 points.

“It was a perfect evening, nice and cool, and it was a fast, flat course with only one hill,” Tallmadge head coach Jeremy Huth said. “I told the guys going in, ‘This is what we’ve trained for all year.’ We were all excited to get to run in a big meet, the first one of the year, on a really great course. They did not disappoint at all. They all ran out of their minds. Each of our top five runners had personal-best times.”

On Sept. 23, Tallmadge lost at home to Suburban League American Conference rival Copley 21-34 to drop to 3-4 on the season.

Senior Tommy Naiman led the way for the Blue Devils in the tri-meet at Jackson. He finished first with a time of 15:50.

“That was by far one of the top five races I’ve ever watched in my coaching career,” said Huth. “To go under 16 minutes … Tommy ran all by himself and just controlled the race. He ran great.”

Senior Dawson Ansley finished third with a time of 16:51. Right behind in fifth place with a clocking of 16:53 was freshman Joey Naiman, Tommy’s brother.

“Dawson had guys around him to compete, to push him. He ran great,” Huth said. “Joey is getting better and better every week. He closed the gap between him and Dawson, finishing just two seconds behind him. That’s going to be an awesome two-three combo if they can keep running together like that.”

Senior Ben Jurkowski finished 12th with a time of 17:26, while freshman Collin Adams placed 17th with a clocking of 17:36.

“Collin just keeps getting better and better,” said the coach. “He’s a little inexperienced, but he continues to just figure this out. We’re expecting big things out of him.”

The meet against Copley was Senior Night.

“We ran a controlled race in which our upperclassmen were partnered up with underclassmen to try to give back and just help those guys, talk to them during the race,” Huth said. “We have a huge race this Saturday (Sept. 26), so we didn’t want to work anybody too hard.”

That huge race that Huth referred to is scheduled to take place against Woodridge and host North Canton Hoover. 

“The guys are going to be tested,” said Huth. “Woodridge is the defending Division II state champ, and they will bring it. Hoover is a very good Division I school. We’ll be up against huge obstacles. It’s going to be a fun race, so we’ll see how it goes.”

The Blue Devils are scheduled to travel to American Conference rival Barberton Sept. 30 at 4 p.m.