by Michael Leonard
Stow -- Tallmadge head girls cross country coach Jeremy Huth was realistic about his team's chances at the Stow Bulldog Invitational.
With state powers like Woodridge and Hudson in the field, it was always going to be an uphill climb for the Lady Blue Devils at Silver Springs Park Oct. 8.
Team-wise, Tallmadge struggled a bit, finishing 10th in the 12-team field at Stow with 275 points.
Woodridge won the team title with 56 points. Twinsburg (65) and Hudson (67) placed second and third, respectively.
However, there was one glowing performance for the Lady Blue Devils on the day.
Freshman Kenna Loveless continued her excellent rookie season after finishing seventh at Stow with a time of 18 minutes, 45.96 seconds.
According to Huth, the time was a school record.
Chardon's Mikaylie Park won the race in 18:23.9, while Twinsburg's Alyssa Deeds placed second in 18:34.39. A total of 133 runners participated.
Huth noting that running against the likes of Woodridge and Twinsburg probably helped his young star.
"Those girls are going to make you run fast," he said. "You only get better by running against the best."
However, Loveless was the only Blue Devil to break the 20-minute barrier on the quick course.
Freshman Morgan Moses was Tallmadge's second finisher, taking 48th place in a time of 20:14.09.
Morgan was followed by junior Miranda Pyka taking 87th place in 22:05.05.
Freshman Claire Cate (97th, 22:40.03) and sophomore Autumn Wanchick (98th, 22:43.07) rounded out the scoring runs for Tallmadge.
Sophomore Ashley Hughes (106th, 23.40.09), freshman Karaniah Rolli (113th, 25:59.42), Mia Walsh (26:27.74) and sophomore Faith Catherine (116th, 3039.04) also ran the varsity race for the Lady Blue Devils.
"As a team, we're a little young right now," Huth said. "This is a fast course and you have a lot of fast teams.
"You can't ask for better conditions running this early in the morning."
Tallmadge was set to compete in the Suburban League Championship Oct. 15 at Goodyear Metro Park in Akron. Results of the conference meet were not available at press time.
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to open their postseason run at a Division II district meet Oct. 22 at Lorain Community College in Elyria. Racing is set to begin at 3 p.m.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals at Lorain advance to a Division II regional meet Oct. 29 at Boardman.