Blue Devil girls runners get experience vs. state heavyweights

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Head coach Jeremy Huth knew it was going to be a tough meet for his Tallmadge girls cross country team against heavyweights Woodridge and host North Canton Hoover.

“We’re not allowed to run invitationals because of COVID-19, so we’re not getting much experience this year, and that definitely showed,” he said. “Our up-front girls handled their own, though.”

Woodridge won the meet with 23 points, Hoover finished second with 54 points and Tallmadge was third with 59 points. The Blue Devils dropped to 4-5 on the season.

Leading the way for Tallmadge was junior Ana Crangle, who finished fourth with a time of 20 minutes, 40 seconds.

“There was a lot of talent up front,” said Huth. “Ana went out quick with them and then backed off the pace a little bit and was able to maintain her spot. I think she made a smart decision in controlling what she was capable of doing. I thought she ran a smart race. She definitely did not fall apart, so I was happy to see that. Overall, it was a solid race.

“This sets her up nice to where she’ll be at in our regional meet. I think she has a shot of making it down to Columbus if our team does not.”

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Freshman Cara Basso finished 11th with a time of 21:57.

“It was a typical race for Cara,” Huth said. “To be right around the top 10 against a Division I school like Hoover and Woodridge, which is loaded, sets her up nicely for the end of the season. Hopefully she’ll continue to improve, and we’ll see what happens.”

Senior Mackenzie Moran finished 12th with a time of 22:04, and junior Katrina Hunt placed right behind in 13th with a clocking of 22:10.

“Mackenzie and Katrina did what we have been preaching about running in a pack, staying together, trying to feed off each other, helping each other out,” said the coach. “Those two did a really good job the last mile. They kind of separated, and Mackenzie pulled ahead a little bit. Both of them ran a pretty good race.”

Senior Kelsey Bellman was 22nd with a time of 23:25.

Tallmadge has a week off and then is scheduled to host Suburban League American Conference rival Highland Oct. 10 at 9 a.m.