Chardon boys are the headliners at U Wanna Come Back Invitational
By KARL PEARSON
PERRY TOWNSHIP - A slightly different course has been constructed at the Perry Outdoor YMCA, on which the area's Division I and II cross country runners will be competing on at the district meet Oct. 21.
If the performances at Saturday's U Wanna Come Back Invitational hosted by Madison is any indication, area competitors are eating up. Case in point was the showing of the Chardon boys team, which took one of it's initial steps toward what many experts feel will be a serious run at the Division I state team title. The Hilltoppers had the top two finishers and three more in the top nine and had just 23 points to run away with the team title in the White (large schools) Division, easily ahead of Mayfield with 49.
Chardon was paced by the one-two finish of seniors Emil Heineking and Luke Grau. Heineking led the 201-runner boys field in 15:55. Grau finished 30 seconds later. They were chased in by Matt Stratman, fourth in 17:03, Matt Martin in seventh in 17:09 and Will Porter in ninth in 17:19.
Riverside boys were fourth in the White Division with 152 points. Madison was fifth with 275 and Geneva was eighth with 336.
It wasn't just a day for the Hilltoppers to shine, though, on the soggy track. Harvey's boys team captured the Blue (small schools) Division for the boys with 126 points, topping Poland with 159 points. NDCL was fourth with 292, Pymatuning Valley was fifth with 339 and Ledgemont was eighth with 500.
In the girls Blue Division, Geneva finished second with 145 points to 108 for Kirtland. NDCL was fourth with 249.
The host team had it's moments, too. The Madison girls finished as runners-up in the White Division with 84 points to 69 for Mayfield, led by overall champion Kim Lorentz, the only girl to break 20 minutes. Chardon was third with 105 and Riverside was fourth with 124.
Combining the efforts of their boys and girls for another meet award, Chardon finished second with 128. Mayfield won that title with 118 points.
Both Heineking and Chardon coach Mark Shafer were pretty pleased with the Hilltoppers' effort on the second weekend of the season.
"I felt pretty good about my race," Heineking said. "I had hoped to break 15:40, but my time was pretty good. It was a good race to build from. This course is more challenging than the old course."
"Emil looked real good today," Shafer said. "He was cruising today. Luke closed up the gap from last week and the next three guys got out in good spots. Matt ran a (personal record) and all the other boys had PRs or close to it. It was a nice effort today. Overall, I like the new course, too."
Harvey coach Mark Yocum liked what he saw from his boys, too. Kyle Griffith was the top Red Raider in 12th in 17:39, while the other four scorers packed it in well as John Spargur placed 23rd in 18:18, Jacob Farren was 25th in 18:27, Alex Petecca was 29th in 18:38 and Nate Astrup was 38th in 18:53.
"It was a nice team effort today," Yocum said. "This is pretty exciting after kind of a poor showing at Salem last week. I think the boys came in on a mission today.
"Kyle did a nice job leading the way. Then I thought we packed it up real nice with the second through fourth guys in the top 30. It's sort of how I expected them to run today."
Saturday's effort was an encouraging sign for Geneva girls coach Emily Long, too. Lara Heinz topped the Eagles with a ninth place in 21:07. Brittany Zele was 19th in 21:56, followed by Tiffany Cubacub in 23rd in 22:09, Amy Carrier in 37th in 22:50 and Caitlin Maloy in 61st in 23:44.
"This was a good start for us," Long said. "Lara did a real nice job. I was real pleased that our third through fifth runners were close together. The girls all had strong finishes. We wanted to see if we could get first or second today, so this is a good building block."
Madison girls coach Mike Hanes was also pleased with his Blue Streaks' pack. Jill Dickman finished fourth in 20:57. Jessica Daughters was 12th in 21:13, while Kayleigh Bildstein was 21st in 22:05, Miranda Boggs was 22nd in 22:07 and Erica Casto was 24th in 22:12.
"I'm very happy with this finish because Mayfield has such a strong team," Hanes said. "Jill ran a great race for her first cross country race at 3.1 miles. Jessica looks like she's recovering from some illness. We've added some new runners who have really helped out, too."
Chardon's girls were led by Steffi Liotta in 10th in 21:12. Malin Heineking was 16th in 21:35, Lauren Bales was 20th in 22:01, Jackie Rich finished 28th in 22:27 and Rachel Draper was 31st in 22:23.
Leading the Riverside boys was Mike Nelson in 15th in 17:46. Kevin DeGroot was 28th in 18:32, Evan McClintock was 33rd in 18:42, David Nelson was 37th in 18:50 and Tim Shafer was 40th in 18:59.
Susie Nelson led Riverside's girls with a fourth in 20:49. Madalyn Trout was 11th in 21:13, Lori Burns finished 35th in 22:42, Ann Marie Lauter was 36th in 22:49 and Hallee Pavisich was 38th in 22:52.
Christina Gondacz led the NDCL girls in 33rd in 22:36. She was followed by Danielle Borowske in 43rd in 23:01, Emily Strand in 50th in 23:21, Jenna Hoerster in 54th in 23:30 and Ashleigh Pona in 107th in 25:39.
NDCL's boys were led by Will Zaylor in 40th in 18:58. He was chased by Joe Saxon in 51st in 19:44, Sean Gallagher in 72nd in 20:01, Dan Skursha in 74th in 20:02 and Andrew Scherbauer in 89th in 20:38.
Topping Madison's boys was Joe Teter in 36th in 18:45. He was followed by Paul Gumm in 60th in 19:39, Josh Hord in 65th in 19:46, Konner Lashley in 66th in 19:47 and Mike Chicarell in 87th in 20:29.
Josh Wilks topped the Geneva boys in 13th in 17:39. Pat Doherty was 52nd in 19:27, followed by Chris Dunlap in 110th in 21:14, Brian Fink in 140th in 22:04 and Dave Leonard in 143rd in 22:14.
Landon Hamilton led the PV boys with a sixth in 17:06. Jacob Bessman was 63rd in 19:44, Marcus Cunningham was 119th in 21:33, Matt Lautanen finished 136th in 21:52 and Bo Shreves was 161st in 23:13.
P.J. Burke topped the Ledgemont boys in 155th in 22:45. He was followed by Caleb Crawford in 157th in 22:55, Michael Prince in 169th in 23:36, Tony Curtis in 170th in 23:37 and Michael Rusnak in 182nd in 24:37.
Several area girls schools did not have the requisite five runners. Trisha Gruskiewicz led PV with a 34th place in 22:30. Kim Hunt was Ledgemont's top finisher in 52nd. Jaclynn Griffith led Harvey in 135th in 26:50.