By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
There is perhaps no better event in the regular season to get an idea of where you stand as a cross country program or an individual than the Boardman Spartan Invitational.
A number of Portage Trail Conference teams joined the 2013 field that included more than 90 teams converging at Boardman High School on Saturday to compete with arguably the most impressive collection of talent outside of the OHSAA state meet.
Woodridge was the big winner among PTC teams, as the Bulldogs placed third overall in the girls Division II race, while taking fourth overall in the Division II boys run.
The Woodridge girls were paced by Madison Spreitzer, who ran sixth overall in a time of 19:32.2. Teammates Allyson Dryer (12th, 19:55.5), Erin Kiley (31st, 20:30.4), Julia Moore (32nd, 20:30.9) and Clare Willett (33rd, 20:31.3) all finished inside the top 50.
John Harry was Woodridge's top finisher in the boys run, placing 13th overall in a time of 17:08.3. Teammates Andrew Stewart (20th, 17:13.30) and Tim Faiken (25th, 17:22.7) also turned in impressive runs.
Woodridge coach Jeff Howard said he was pleased with many of the times, although he knows there is still work to be done.
"Allyson ran her first sub-20 run of her career, and Madison ran her second-fastest career time," Howard said.
"For the boys, Zach and Tyler each broke 18 minutes for the first time, so I'm happy overall with how we did. In the boys team, though, we have a fifth-runner problem," Howard said. "When we can get that shored up, we'll be right up there with the top teams," Howard said.
Field also posted a strong afternoon from a team perspective, placing eighth in both the boys and girls Division II runs.
Nate Conroy was Field's top runner, taking 10th overall in the boys race with a time of 17:03.8 and he was followed up by Adam Salberg, who finished 30th in 17:26.1.
Field head coach Ed Conroy said that Saturday's performance by his son Nate was much-needed for the senior runner, who took the highest individual finish for a boys PTC runner.
"Nate had a really tough race on Tuesday (at the PTC Super Duels), so he really needed to take a top-10 spot today," Conroy said. "Overall, our boys are running well. Clark Bookman (40th, 17:40.0) is recovering from an injury still and when we get all five of our guys healthy and running well, we'll be fine."
The Falcons' girls team was paced by Becca Pohlod, who took 27th overall with a time of 20:22.9. Field's second and third runners among were Jessica Snodgrass (21:03.1) and Abby Chasar (21:03.9), who placed 58th and 59th, respectively.
"If you said we could take top eight at this meet, we'd be really OK with that," Conroy said. "We're working through some injuries on both teams right now, but we're right where we want to be."
The Crestwood Red Devils placed ninth in the boys run, while the girls team took fifth overall in Division II.
Crestwood's girls were led by Abby Soltisz, who placed 10th overall with a time of 19:49.1. The Red Devils also earned low point totals from the tandem of Challis Roberts (20:20.4) and Kira Judd (20:22.9), who placed 25th and 26th, respectively.
The Red Devils boys were paced by Jeremiah Fitzgerald, who finished 24th overall in a time of 17:20.0. Teammate Jacob Ondash finished 50th overall in 17:44.3.
Red Devils boys coach Jim Schweickert said that Saturday offered his team a great chance to see exactly where they stand.
"Seven of the top nine teams in this event in Division II are in our own region," Schweickert said. "It's just absolutely loaded with talent, so I was happy that we got a good team effort from everyone today."
Rootstown represented itself well in the boys Division III run, placing ninth overall -- led by William Morgan, who finished 14th in a time of 17:06.4. The Rovers' next fastest runner was Dillon Melby, who placed 72nd overall in 18:41.3.
Rovers boys head coach Larry Bailey said he wasn't concerned by any of the times from his runners -- good or bad -- because of the strenuous schedule Rootstown has come through in the past week.
"This is our third major race in the last eight days, between this event, the one in Walsh last Saturday and the Super Duels on Tuesday," Bailey said. "Our guys were a little tired, but we ran OK. This isn't the event that matters -- that's the postseason."
Roosevelt sophomore Kaylie Murray looked strong in the girls Division I run, taking fifth overall in a time of 19:28.0. The 10th-place finisher in Division I at the state meet as a freshman, Murray looked strong against the toughest regular-season field in the state.
Facebook: Colin Harris, Record-Courier