Hudson boys cross country routs Stow as postseason looms

Steve Batko
Hudson runners, from left, Titan Casey, Jack Root and Elliot Durkee run the course at the Hudson Springs Park at a meet earlier this season.

Timing and training are key components to a cross country team and boys Division I state power Hudson seems to be peaking at the right time this season.

This fall more than any other season is requiring the perfect blend of training schedules due to COVID-19.

Rest verses race.

There is no handbook as we won’t don’t necessarily know the best way to approach the 2020 post season possibly until it is over and done with.

It’s a whole other conversation to attempt to compare teams and individual runners due to this year’s vast scheduling changes of meets as well as competing on different courses.

Despite some graduation losses, Hudson is expected to be in play for another deep post season after nailing down league district championships, a regional meet runner-up showing, and eighth-place in Ohio.

The Explorers beat Stow-Munroe Falls 15-42 at Hudson Springs Park and showed its strong depth.

“We beat Stow Friday night and it was definitely our strongest race of the season,” proclaimed McConnell.

“Our team is coming together at the right time,” the coach added. “I have been very impressed with how our team has handled the unique circumstances of the season.”

Junior Titan Casey is starting to heat up a bit for the Explorers.

Casey won the race against Stow and had the fastest time among the 86 other runners.

Having to beat a few teammates, Casey crossed first as he registered a clocking of 16 minutes, 44 seconds.

To the liking of McConnell and his staff, Casey was proceeded by four veteran seniors for Hudson. Casey will be a major key in Hudson’s post season possibilities.

Seizing second-place for Hudson was Jack Root, who was clocked at 16:45 for the Explorers. Root has been a fixture for Hudson this fall.

Following Root was Elliot Durkee as the first-year standout crossed in 16:47.

Gabe Shale ran fourth overall as the senior is coming on big-time. His time that was posted was 16:51.

Kyle Betz took fifth as the senior crossed with a clocking of 17:05 to edge Stow’s trio of race leaders in gifted Bulldog Seth Macura (17:26)), along with Micah Bentley (17:28) and Zach Shawala (17:32).

Finishing next for Hudson was junior Drew Hartline and sophomore Colin LeVan. Hartline was ninth with a time of 17:36 and LeVan ran 12th in 17:52.

“The guys are still hungry and focus is on the coming weeks and making this season as successful as they can,” commented McConnell.

“We have our final dual meet against Twinsburg next Friday (Oct. 9 in Hudson) and then we have the league championship, followed by the postseason,” added McConnell.

McConnell will be looking to win the Suburban League National Conference title Oct. 17 at Norton’s Silver Creek Metro Park. Action starts at 9 a.m.

In 2019, Hudson won the league meet 34-45 over Brecksville while Stow was third (102), ahead of North Royalton (124).

The Division I District championships are set for Oct. 24 as Hudson will fight to repeat as team champions.

McConnell likes his team’s depth, which will aid the Explorers in the big meets this fall.

Other top runners against Stow were junior Kyle Papczun (17:55), senior Daniel Bell (18:02), senior Alex Zito (18:17), junior Matt Good (18:19), junior Mack Daberko (18:23), senior Grady Zappone (18:25), and junior Abe Goldslager (18:26).