The Boardman Spartan Invite. Not quite the race you sign up for if you want an easy win and a plethora of personal bests. The Cross Country Cats knew the challenge ahead of them coming into this weekend, and in the combined results of 4 high school boys races of 703 runners and 73 total teams, the boys took fifth place and three top 30 finishes.
Racing alongside the top 10 Ignatius runners were some truly great teams and individuals. In the 11:00 am D1 race, #4 Kenston and #6 Mentor, along with one of the individual state championship favorites Nathan Moore of Uniontown Lake joined the Cats in the highly competitive race. The day was a clear and calm 63 degrees.
Short of a few 200m heroes, the race got off to a respectably wise early pace around the sharp turns of the first mile. The lead pack of Moore, some Kenston and Louisville boys, Tommy Rice, and Frank Bero, came through one mile in 5:05, with Sean Uhran following closely behind in 5:08, Matt Kelly in 5:13, and Aidan Monroe in 5:15. Guillaume Carroll, Beter Fitzpatrick, and Joseph Maloney led the second CatPack through in 5:20 and 5:35.
Kelly and Uhran came through 2 miles in 10:32 and 10:33, then battled with Amherst’s Ty Perez for 1k before dropping him and entering a final 600m dual race. Another exciting finish between the two came down to just three seconds, with Kelly finishing in 16:21 and Uhran in 16:24, good for 5th and 6th in the D1 race. Monroe’s 2 mile of 10:50 was followed by the rest of the cats between 11:22 and 11:38. Monroe finished third for the cats and 16th overall in 16:51, Connor Geary scored 40 for the cats as the number four man, with Carroll and Alex Paliga finishing stride for stride in 17:45.5 and 17:46.1, respectively, for 55th and 56th in the race and fifth and sixth on the team. Connor Mcandrew, Fitzpatrick, Michael Mayer, and Maloney did their best as seventh through tenth men to displace other teams’ runners.
The boys finished with 122 points, only 13 behind Louisville in 2nd place, and 26 behind Kenston’s 96 point victory. With an average time of 16:59, the cats were only 7 seconds off of Kenston’s average time, but while the Wildcats had a spread of 84 seconds and 5th-55th place scorers, Kenston’s 35 second spread with 10th-30th scorers won the race. Going forward, closing the gap between #3 and #4-5 is the main priority for the cats.
Their next opportunity to improve will be at the Malone Invitational on Saturday, August 26, where they expect to see many of the same individuals and teams as the Boardman Spartan Invite. Freshmen will race at the JB Firestone Invitational on Saturday as well.
Huge shoutouts to Tom Kilbane on being a National Merit Semifinalist and Luke Chesney on earning National Merit Commended Scholar!
From Head Coach Dr. Mike Gallagher '71 on the JV Race:
On Thursday the 'Cats made their second trip to Mentor for the JV Classic. Sean Ward set a blistering pace from the start. He held the lead until a Mentor runner passed him at the two-mile, but was able to hold on for second place in 17:30. He was followed by Sean Freddy Becker in 17:42, Luke Chesney (17:46), Ben Showman (17:56-Letter winner!), Will Leahy (18:00), Caleb Delacruz (18:01), Joe Sepesy (18.:07). This secured the team title for the Wildcats. Top freshman finisher was Aidan Zielinski in 19:25. A shout out goes to the parents for managing to get all the runners out to Lake County on a Thursday afternoon!