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Falls boys runners win Clipper Invitational for third straight year

by Frank Aceto Associate Sports Editor Published: October 9, 2016 12:00 AM

Over the years, the Cuyahoga Falls boys cross country team has made the October 65-mile trip to Columbiana High School to compete at the Clipper Invitational.

Let's just say the Black Tigers don't intend to change their plans.

Falls easily won its third straight Clipper Invitational Oct. 1 in Columbiana.

The Black Tigers "Black" team dominated the competition with 15 points -- a perfect score in high school cross country.

Youngstown Ursuline was the runner-up with 98 points and Akron Springfield placed third with 109 points. A total of 12 teams competed.

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"We were actually one-two overall because our Gold team finished second [84 points]," Koch said. "Since we took the first two spots, they handed the second-place trophy to the third-place team."

Either way you look at it, black and gold colors could be seen together throughout the race.

"They stepped up," Falls head coach Bob Koch said. "It was a whole lot of fun to watch. Everything seemed to work together the way it was supposed to be. A coach couldn't script it any better."

Black Tiger freshman Jack Wilcoxson earned his first career win with a time of 18 minutes, 1.2 seconds. A total of 109 runners competed.

But he had plenty of company.

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Falls' "Black" squad took the first seven spots. The eighth-place finisher was a member of the Black Tigers' "Gold" team.

"We had four people running together on a really tight turn at the mile-and-a-half mark," Koch said. "Jack had a stronger kick and was able to push his way up front. It was a good way for Jack to get his first varsity win."

Falls' Bronson Luksza finished second in 18:03.9 and Kyle Wilson, who had missed the last three races due to an illness, took third in 18:11.6.

"It was great to see Kyle out there," Koch said. "He was three seconds slower than last year, but he's running very well."

Grabbing the next four spots were Black Tigers Anthony Nichols (fourth, 18:15), Tommy Hillyer (fifth, 18:40), Jay Wilson (sixth, 18:49.4) and Tony Sondles (seventh, 19:09.2).

"Even though it rained all week, we had some pretty nice weather while we were running," Koch said. "The mud was still there. We were the last race of the day. It was a good tune-up."

Leading the "Gold" team was Andrew Kuntz, who placed eighth (19:10.6).

Rounding out the top five for the "Gold" team were Cody Zrelak (13th, 19:29.2), Jake Strausser (14th, 19:32.8), Zach Langbein (21st, 19:49.9) and Justin Hinkle (28th, 20:15).

Falls was scheduled to compete at the Stow Invitational Oct. 8 at Silver Springs Park. Results were not available at press time.

The Black Tigers are set to run at the Suburban League Meet Oct. 15 at Goodyear Park in Akron. The race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

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