After a disappointing fourth place finish at the Hilliard Davidson Hot Summer Bash, the Cross Country cats got back to their winning ways at the Oscar Grant Invitational on Thursday, taking first place as a team via a season-best of 33 points and individual wins in all three waves of runners.
A total of 24 boys made the trip out to the Trumbull County Fairgrounds for start times of 5:30 pm for varsity A, 5:30:30 for varsity B, and 5:31 for varsity C. Three separate wave starts featured one Ignatius team each and around 50 runners from other schools. The runners knew that the waves start meant two things. 1. a lower risk of the spread of COVID-19, and 2. the risk of being passed by a teammate you had a 30 second lead over, which would certainly lead to a week of practice that would likely feature some “friendly” team banter. Fortunately for the runners in Thursday’s race, no Cats were caught in this way.
Matt Kelly, Sean Uhran, and Aidan Monroe all saw the fast Trumbull course, the near-perfect weather, and the interesting “Thursday at 5:30” race condition as a possible chance for them to break 16 for each’s first time in the 5k. The plan of negative splits to average a 5:09 mile started off well, with the 3 coming into the first mile at 5:10. However, from there, strategy and times went out the window as a second mile that seemed to take forever took the 3’s chances of breaking 16 away. Kelly came through the second mile leading the 3 in 10:25, and finished the race first overall in 16:11. Sean followed with a time of 16:27 in 4th place, and Aidan, the last head of the Cerberus, finished in 16:37 in 6th place. The trailblazing sophomore Guillame Carroll came in 4th for the cats and 7th overall in 16:57, and Connor Mcandrew scored 5th for the cats in 17:18, good for 15th in the race.
The varsity B squad, following thirty seconds after Varsity A finished fourth in the race, led by Peter Fitzpatrick and Alex Paliga in 17:07 and 17:31, respectively. Peter came dangerously close to catching Michael Mayer in the first wave. Sean Ward, Caleb Delacruz, and Will Leahy also scored for the B squad. The third Ignatius team finished 10th out of 24 teams, and was the only of the three teams to feature one runner from each grade. The team featured senior Tom Kilbane, Juniors Joey Sepesy and Christian, Sophomores CJ Lyon, Tyler Cupar, Tim Schmelter, Luke Lavelle, and Freshman Will Scott.
The JV and freshman teams will race next at the second edition Mentor Cardinal Classic on Friday, 9/18, and the Varsity A team will compete at the Boardman Spartan Invitational on Saturday, 9/19, against some of the top teams and individuals in the area.