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Capturing a team championship in the prestigious 31st annual Boardman Spartan Invitational is certainly a feather in the cap for the Twinsburg girls cross country team.
Using strong balance, the Lady Tigers defeated a slew of area and statewide powers in the large Division I field of teams.
"The girls won, besting 40 other teams," said head coach Sarah Kmet, of her unranked squad.
"This is a phenomenal accomplishment as it one of the biggest and most competitive events in the state this weekend," she added. "The girls beat eight state-ranked teams on the way to their win."
Twinsburg finished with 123 points and beat strongholds like Avon (199), Cleveland Saint Joseph Academy (203), Massillon GlenOak (214), Brunswick (230), Aurora (236), Berea-Midpark (245), Hudson (263), North Allegheny (PA) (281), and Medina Highland (305).
"It was an awesome team effort from the top down," pointed out Kmet. "Alyssa Deeds finished fourth overall in a new season and personal best time."
A freshman sensation, Deeds captured fourth out of 424 runners. Deeds blazed to a finish of 19 minutes, 22.8 seconds.
"That was her best, but more importantly, Alyssa has closed the gaps on her main rivals, which will be invaluable come October," stressed Kmet.
In boys' action, the Tigers finished 16th of 46 at Boardman.
Also standing out for the girls unit was senior Morgan Kelley. Kelley finished 17th overall with a clocking of 20:01.2.
"Morgan [Kelley] had a huge race, one of her best ever," stated Kmet.
"Makenzie Hartman, Emily O'Connor and Kayley Irwin rounded out the top five and our excellent showing," added the mentor. "Our finishing kicks were so much better this week. Running so well on the regional course should give the girls tremendous confidence as we enter the second half of the season."
Hartman, only a sophomore, placed 22nd in 20:20.4.
O'Connor raced to a 36th-place finish with a strong time of 20:56.2 while senior Kayley Irwin posted a superb time of 21:01.3, to cross 44th overall.
Freshmen Rebecca Mold and Desha Perera also contributed. Mold ran 73rd in 21:21 and Perera placed 118th crossing in 22:01.9.
In boys' action, the Tigers finished 16th of 46 at Boardman with 510 points. Solon won the boys Division I team title with 70.
Sophomore Ryan Adkins paced the boys team as Adkins had an incredible day at Boardman.
Adkins ran with the leaders of the race and battled, finishing fifth overall with a blazing fast time of 16:07.5.
"Ryan had an outstanding showing, running with the leaders most of the race and finishing fifth overall out of more than 500 runners in the race," said Kmet. "Ryan equaled his PR on a not-so-quick Boardman course."
"He [Adkins] also beat some big names today and I expect this race to give him some real momentum headed into the second half of the season," added the coach.
Senior Aaron McCarthy was the Tigers' second finisher. McCarthy ran 71st overall with a clocking of 17:40.
Junior Ethan Bernhard placed 96th in 17:55, followed by junior Alex Dickson (158th at 18:40.3), senior Andrew Yates (18:55.9), freshman Mitchell Suder (19:10), and sophomore Carson Albright (19:14.4).
"The rest of the boys team seemed to struggle," said Kmet. "They did not run as well as I expected. I will make some adjustments to help get the boys out of this little period of stagnancy."
Twinsburg will look to improve when the Tigers compete at the Strongsville Fleet Feet Invitational Sept. 24 and run at the Woodridge Invitational in Peninsula Oct. 1.