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Twinsburg's cross country program is in the rugged part of the regular season schedule with some big meets.
Head coach Sarah Kmet saw her girls squad compete with some top talent at the 26th annual Bruce Lerch Invitational hosted by Brecksville-Broadview Heights High Sept. 10.
"We finished second overall at Brecksville and we tied Woodridge (with 39 points), but lost on the tiebreaker," Kmet said. "It was another very close meet. Again, the girls ran very well today."
"The team had six girls finish in the top 20 as Alyssa Deeds finished second overall," added. Kmet.
The Tigers boys squad placed third overall.
In girls action, perennial state Division II power Woodridge beat Twinsburg in six of the top eight slots, including the higher finish in the fourth-through-eighth runners. Brecksville was third with 93 points while Rocky River was fourth at 111.
Deeds, the Tiger's freshman sensation, ran second and was only beaten by Rocky River senior Anna Brandt at 20 minutes and 18.0 seconds. Deeds was clocked at 20:31 and also beat senior standouts from Woodridge (Clare Willett) and Brecksville (Dana Dosen).
Sophomore Makenzie Hartman ran sixth overall with a time of 21:41, just edging veteran senior teammate Morgan Kelley, who crossed in 21:45.
Another freshman, Rebecca Mold, also excelled at Brecksville as she ran 11th with a time of 22:01.
"Rebecca also had a tremendous race along with Alyssa," said Kmet. "Her physical and mental toughness is proving to be very valuable."
Junior Emily O'Connor finished 13th for the Lady Tigers with a time of 22:23.
"Woodridge is a state-ranked Division II team and I am happy we were able to compete so well against them," pointed out Kmet.
Senior Kayley Irwin placed 16th overall, registering a time of 22:35. Freshman Desha Perera ran seventh for the locals as she was 26th in 23:26. Senior Nicole Bekesz ran 41st (24:32).
The boys finished third overall as Woodridge won the team race 38-67 over Brecksville. The Tigers (105 points). Mayfield (130), Chardon (140), and Medina Highland (156) also placed well.
"Ryan Adkins was our top finisher, placing second by less than a step," noted a thrilled Kmet.
Adkins time was 16:49 as Chardon junior Nate Kawalec edged the sophomore standout by a leg.
Junior Ethan Bernhard ran 12th overall with a time of 18:26 while classmate Alex Dickson crossed in 18:56, which was 23rd overall.
"Ethan and Alex had nice races, both placing in the top 25," said Kmet.
Senior Andrew Yates placed 30th in the team race with a clocking of 19:38. Sophomore Carson Albright ran 40th overall in 19:58 and Mitchell Suder placed 49th as the freshman was timed at 20:17.
"Suder had an outstanding run, finishing as our 6th runner," said Kmet. "I believe Mitchell still has a lot in him and will continue to improve as he learns the 5K."
Chad Abrams, a junior, ran 67th in 20:57. Seniors Blake Benedict (73rd) and Nick Bianco (78th) also ran.
Twinsburg's boys posted a 3-4 record in the Sept. 3 Suburban League Super Duals at Silver Cree Metro Park in Norton.
"Adkins came away as the individual champ, essentially leading the race wire to wire," said Kmet.
Adkins won with a time of 16:18 as he beat Hudson's Evan Manley (16:26) and Wadsworth's Nick Miller (16:30).
Senior Aaron McCarthy also shined as he placed 19th overall with a time of 17:21. Bernhard was next for Twinsburg as he was 26th at Wadsworth with a time of 17:25.
Dickson (18:09), Albright (18:40), Yates (18:45), and Bianco (19:08) also scored. Benedict (19:17) rounded out the top seven.
"We had very good races out of McCarthy, Bernhard and Albright," said the coach. Abrams (19:22) and senior Jared Deeds (19:24) also ran for the boys.
"I am somewhat disappointed in finishing 3-4 as I believe we are better than Cuyahoga Falls," she added. "I was glad to see the boys bounce back from last week and beat Nordonia."
Kmet was excited about the girls 6-1 finish, but thought her troops could have beat Hudson.
"We finished with a 6-1 record, losing by one point to Hudson and Deeds was the top finisher in the National Division," noted the coach. "The girls ran really well."
"My criticism is our finish. We let too many people outkick us or out step us at the line, and that proved costly in the one-point loss," added Kmet.
Deeds was clocked at 19:23 and ran first in the National Division and third overall.
Hartman ran well and was timed at 20:25 (13th overall) while Kelley ran 18th overall (20:33) and O'Connor was 19th (20:35). Mold (21:02), Irwin (21:15), and Perera (21:53) rounded out the lineup.
Freshman Annabelle Dolney (23:28), senior Briana Bober (24:21), and sophomore Victoria Holzwarth (24:39) also ran for Twinsburg.
Both teams run at the Boardman Invitational Sept. 17.
"Boardman is the largest meet we go to all year and will serve as a good mid-season barometer," said Kmet.