by Michael Leonard
Stow --The Tallmadge boys cross country team may have faced its toughest field of the season Oct. 8 at the Stow Bulldog Invitational.
The Blue Devils found themselves running with the likes of defending Division I state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius, Division II state power Woodridge, Walsh Jesuit, Hudson and even McQuaid Jesuit from Rochester, N.Y.
Needless to say, Tallmadge head coach Jeremy Huth wasn't expecting miracles when his team ran at Silver Springs Park.
The Blue Devils finished 13th in the 14-team field at Stow with 339 points.
Hudson won the boys team title with 59 points, while St. Ignatius was second with 69 points and Woodridge took third with 70 points.
Assessing his team's performance, Huth was generally pleased.
"They ran well," he said. "Our pack is getting tighter, which is going to be a key for us. Our top runner ran around 17 [minutes] flat, which is good on this course."
Tallmadge's top runner was junior Ryan Riter, who finished in 31st place in a time of 17 minutes, 8.84 seconds.
Twinsburg's Ryan Adkins led the race virtually from wire to wire and ended up winning in a time of 15:44.98.
"It good for them to run against runners of that caliber," Huth said. "It shows what we need to do."
Junior Vince Labosky was able to break the 18-minute barrier, finishing 68th in a time of 17:52.43, while sophomore Zach Brown just missed 18 minutes, taking 74th place in 18:02.05.
Sophomores Alex Krukemeyer (102nd, 18:33.86) and Nick Sabetta (114th, 19:00.36) rounded out the scoring runs for the Blue Devils.
Sophomore Andrew Hipkins (122nd, 19:18.08), senior Jordan Sapper (125th, 19:25.11) and sophomore Lucca Passarelli (133rd, 19:49.36) also ran the varsity race.
In the open race, senior Kent Hoag finished with a fast time of 17:52.02 to take seventh place.
Huth acknowledge the field at Stow was tougher than what his team will face moving forward.
"From here on out, it's Division II," Huth said. "The Suburban Leage meet has us against the American Conference, which we should compete well at."
Tallmadge was scheduled to compete at the Suburban League Championships Oct. 15 at Goodyear Metro Park in Akron. Results were not available at press time.
The Blue Devils were set to open the postseason at a Division II district meet at Lorain Community College in Elyria. The race is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.