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Given the switches in district cross country meet sites this season, Stow-Munroe Falls coach John Roseman was concerned he might be running with a smaller field than usual at the Stow Bulldog Invitational.
In the years past, the Bulldog Invitational has provided a chance for teams running the district meet at Goodyear Metro Park to see each other on a much different course.
The 3.1-mile course at Silver Springs Park is much faster than Goodyear, but this year, Goodyear is not hosting a district meet.
Roseman need not have worried. While the field wasn't huge Oct. 8 at the Bulldog Invitational, it had plenty of quality.
The Stow girls squad finished seventh in the 12-team girls field at the Bulldog Invitational with 155 points. Woodridge won the girls team title with 56 points, while Twinsburg was second with 65 points.
In the 14-team boys field, Stow finished ninth with 226 points. Hudson won the boys team title with 59 points, fending off defending Division I state champion St. Ignatius (69 points).
While Stow was bit off in terms of placing, times were fast, especially for the girls.
In fact, Stow junior Tessa Pitcovich and sophomore Mackenzie Cassiday led the race after the first mile.
"That was probably a stupid mistake," Pitcovich said. "I just wanted to finish as well as I could."
Although Pitcovich said she was hurting after the race, Roseman said Pitcovich is officially back.
"It was nice to see them back up front," Roseman said. "I didn't know they were leading that early. That's a bit of surprise."
Both Pitcovich and Cassiday fell off the pace a bit in the second half of the race, as Chardon's Mikaylie Park won the girls individual race in 18:23.9.
Pitcovich was Stow's top finisher, taking 14th place in 19:12.07, while Cassiday was 17th in 19:23.02.
Freshman Jocelyn Shatraw also broke 20 minutes by finishing 35th in 19:5302, while senior Annaleigh Koch had her best race of the season, finishing 43rd in 20:12.09.
Freshman Amanda Grimm earned her first scoring place of the season, taking 53rd place in 20:32.02.
Senior Kayla Valente (55th, 20:35.06) and freshman Megan Shelley (68th, 21:15.03) finished in the varsity places for Stow.
The Bulldogs also had junior Paige Nemecek (77th, 21:35.04) and junior Kamryn Drach (79th, 21:42.05) in the varsity race.
One other good development for Stow: Junior Sophia Perez was able to finish a race for the first time in three weeks.
Roseman chose to let Perez run in the open race to take the pressure off his No. 1 runner, who is recovering from an ankle injury. Perez responded by winning the open race in 20:31.45, beating her nearest competition by more than a minute.
In the boys race, senior Jonathan Holtz looks to be back in form.
Holtz stayed with the lead pack throughout the race and finished fifth in a time of 16:22.43, just behind Hudson's Adam Beucler (16:21.82).
Twinsburg's Ryan Adkins won the race in 15:44.98.
"I can't really be sad with my finish," Holtz said, noting he was shooting for his personal record of 16:17. "I don't know where [the leaders] came from."
"He's been running much better as of late," Roseman said. "He's where he should be right now."
Sophomore Cole Shawala took 45th place in 17:29.04,
Roseman lauded sophomores Jason Anzaldi (51st, 17:31.72) and Patrick Bunnell (52nd, 17:35.56) as having quality runs.
Junior Matthew Rohde rounding out the scoring runs, taking 96th place in 18:27.31.
Freshmen Mathew Duffy (101st, 18:32.46) and Patrick Kline (110th, 18:47.08) finished in the varsity positions for Stow.
The Bulldogs also had senior Ethan Rosser (116th, 19:10.86) and junior Drew Decker (119th, 19:14.12) in the varsity race.
Stow was set to run in the Suburban League Championships Oct. 15 in Akron, but results were not available at press time.
The Bulldogs will open the postseason Oct. 22 at the district meet at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Cortland. The Division I varsity race starts at 2:50 p.m., while the Division I girls race will be at 4:50 p.m.