by Roger Gordon
Even without its No. 2 runner, junior Vince Labosky, the Tallmadge boys cross country team was able to finish in seventh place Sept. 10 at the 20-team Bruce Lerch Invitational at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
"We knew missing Vince would affect our overall score," Blue Devils head coach Jeremy Huth said. "We knew going into the race was that it was a very tough course, that there would be decent competition up front and that it was going to rain and be hot and humid."
Tallmadge finished with 212 points. Woodridge won the competition with 38 points. Brecksville-Broadview Heights finished second with 67 points and Twinsburg was third with 105 points.
As always, junior Ryan Riter led the way for the Blue Devils. He finished in 17th place with a time of 18 minutes, 41 seconds.
"Ryan ran a great race," Huth said. "Finishing in the top 20 in that race is respectable for him."
Chardon's Nate Kawalec won the competition with a time of 16:49. A total of 148 runners competed.
Tallmadge sophomore Zach Brown finished 36th with a time of 19:40.
"Zach had a good start and was a little conservative throughout the race," Huth said. "He needs to become more confident with his racing on Saturdays. He is a great runner."
Sophomore Alex Krukemeyer, senior Jordan Sapper and sophomore Andrew Hipkins finished relatively close to one another.
Krukemeyer placed 52nd (20:21), Sapper finished 57th (20:29) and Hipkins captured 62nd (20:48).
"Alex had a great start, but faded a little and kind of lost contact in the middle of the race," Huth said. "I started to get worried, but all of a sudden, he made a nice move toward the end.
"That was probably Jordan's best race of the year.
"Andrew has been dealing with some health issues, so he hasn't felt well."
Tallmadge was scheduled to compete at the Galion Cross Country Festival Sept. 17 at Amann Reservoir and Park. Results were not available at press time.
The Blue Devils get a week off and are set to take part in the Woodridge Invitational Oct. 1 at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Kendall Hills in Peninsula. The meet is scheduled to begin at noon.