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Woodridge cross country squads dominate PTC Super Duals

by Steve Batko | Correspondent Published: September 18, 2016 12:00 AM
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In having a near dominant showing in the Portage Trail Conference Super Dual Championships in cross country, Woodridge demonstrated that there's plenty of competition within their own ranks -- not just in the league.

Grabbing PTC titles in both the boys and girls' fields -- coupled with recent team championships at the 26th annual Bruch Lerch Invitational at Brecksville -- the Bulldogs certainly justified recent state rankings.

Head coach Jeff Howard's boys squad is the No. 1-ranked team in Ohio in Division II, while the Lady Bulldogs are ranked fourth in the first Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches poll.

In girls' action at the PTC Super Duals at Brimfield's Wingfoot Lake State Park Sept. 13, Woodridge was impressive as the Lady Bulldogs beat Lodi Cloverleaf unit 23-53 to go 7-0 and capture team honors.

"I thought the girls used tremendous pack running to handle the second place, state-ranked, Cloverleaf Colts," stated Howard.

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Senior Clare Willett was exceptional as she raced to runner-up honors with a time of 20 minutes, 7.39 seconds. Only Cloverleaf star Riley Freeland (19:42.72) beat her out of 141 runners.

Another Woodridge senior, Nicole Fleming, ran third overall and timed at 20:52.68.

Placing fifth was senior twin sister Natalie Fleming, who crossed in 20:56, just edging teammates Molly Howard and Libby Howard.

"Nicole, Natalie, Molly, and Libby rounded out the scoring five," noted Howard.

"In addition to stealing five of the top seven spots, Sarah Frederick and Jenna Kaiser ran outstanding races to grab top 15 finishes," he added.

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Molly Howard ran sixth overall in 20:58.47 and the junior edged Libby Howard, who was seventh as the freshman was timed at 21:02.24.

Frederick and Kaiser, both sophomores, ran 14th and 15th, respectively. Frederick crossed in 21:58.38 and Kaiser, 22:04.92.

Seniors Mary Kiley (18th, 22:32.28) and Katie Kearns (22nd at 22:44.74) contributed as did freshman Allison Palm, who was 23rd and right behind Kearns in 22:49.39.

"Allison Palm, Adelle Tannous, Izzie Dolciato, Rosie Sterling, and Lana Norris also had outstanding days," said Howard.

For the boys, Woodridge won 26-79 over Field for team honors with five runners crossing in the top eight spots.

"The boys team illustrated the value of patience as they ran well to go undefeated in the PTC Super Duals," explained Howard.

Junior Noah Perrin and senior Ryan Palm ran second and third to power the Bulldogs.

Perrin was clocked at 17:24.3 to garner runner up honors while Palm improved his 2015 time at Wingfoot with a mark of 17:25.8.

"Noah Perrin, Ryan Palm, Micah Blair, Yousef Elkurd, and Brayden Whited all grabbed top 10 finishes to make up the scoring crew," said the mentor.

Just a freshman, Blair impressed as he ran sixth with a clocking of 17:35.7.

Elkurd ran seventh as the veteran senior was timed at 17:45.2 while Whited, a sophomore, was eighth with a strong time of 17:47.

Senior Max Starvaggi also ran well as he was 12th overall in 18:09, followed by junior Jack Willett 14th (18:16), plus sophomore twins Andy Muha and Greg Muha, who were 16th and 17th, respectively.

ndy Muha was over two minutes faster than last year with a time of 18:27.9 and Greg Muha was 64 seconds faster at 18:30.4.

At the Bruce Lerch Invitational, the boys won the team title 38-67 over host Brecksville while Division I Twinsburg was third (105).

"For the guys, the Bulldogs grabbed a solid win in the 20-team field at Brecksville," Howard said. "Perrin paced four Bulldogs with top-10 finishes with his third place."

Perrin raced to a third with a time of 17:23 at Brecksville.

With a time of 17:56, Palm finished fifth overall while Elkurd ran eighth in 18:07, and Blair ran ninth with a clocking of 18:08. Whited ran 13th with a time of 18:30.

Greg Muha ran in the junior varsity race for the Bulldogs and ended with the team's fifth fastest time. Muha captured the individual title with a blazing time of 18:27!

"In the JV race, Greg Muha grabbed his first high school win to lead the Bulldogs," said Howard. "Dutt also grabbed ninth-place (19:58)."

Starvaggi was clocked at 19:10 to place 26th out of 148 runners while Willett was 29th at 19:21. Andy Muha was 30th in 19:28 and junior Zach Conroy was 44th with a time of 20:09.

Senior Eli Yoho had a strong effort in the JV race with a time of 20:08.

For the Lady Bulldogs, Frederick finished ahead of a Twinsburg runner to win the tie-breaker in the team standings. Woodridge and Twinsburg each had 39 points.

"Sarah [Frederick] edged out a Twinsburg runner to grab the tie-breaker and help the Bulldogs win," explained Howard. "She ran well."

Willett raced to a third-place with a time of 20:55.

"Clare ran well to lead the Bulldogs and she was followed by Molly Howard, Nicole Fleming, and Libby Howard in the top-10 spots," said the mentor. "Natalie Fleming rounded out the scoring while Kaiser also ran well."

Running fifth overall, Molly Howard was timed at 21:22, followed by Nicole Fleming ninth (21:55), Libby Howard 10th (21:56), Natalie Fleming 12th (22:21), Frederick 17th (22:38), Kaiser 21st (22:56), and Kearns, who was 32nd (23:43).

Woodridge competes at the Saturday Night Lights meet Sept. 24 at Centerville.

Final results of the Sept. 17 Boardman Spartan Invitational were not available as of press time.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC

Twitter:@MLeonard_RPC


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