BURTON–Kirtland’s cross country teams finished near the bottom of the standings at the Berkshire Early Bird Invitational at Kent State’s Geauga Campus on Saturday, but head coach JP Moran was thrilled with the performance of his veteran runners.
All seven returning runners improved on their time from last year’s race.
“We were really excited to get the season underway and get the first meet going,” Moran said. “We’ve got a lot of younger runners and it went pretty well. The times on the course are deceiving because it’s a bit tougher and it was the first race.”
Christine Walsh was Kirtland’s top finisher. She placed 50th in the girls’ race with a time of 22:34, which was two minutes, 40 seconds better than her finish last season. Bridget Stark shaved off the most time of any Kirtland runner. She completed the 2015 race in 29:09, nearly a full three minutes better than her time of 31:56 last season.
Maggie Fovargue and Holly Samf also made improvements. Fovargue finished in 28:46, 40 seconds better than last year, and Samf ran the race in 29:29, 11 seconds better than in 2014.
Andrea Frankel (25:35), Sabrina Rahz (26:43), Ellie David (26:56), Emily Crebs (27:14), Maria Shepard (30:14) and Zoe Gregory (30:32) also competed for the Hornets in the girls’ race.
“On the girls’ side, we had a great pack,” Moran said. “Andrea is a freshman and Sabrina is a sophomore, but it’s her first time running cross, and they were all in the top five with (Walsh). The veterans raced well today. They raced a little bit better than their workout said they would so I was happy with that.”
Kevin Cummings finished 59th overall in a time of 19:02 to lead the Kirtland boys. He shaved off 1:44 from last year’s race. Colton Zanko also knocked off a minute from last year’s race when he finished in 20:06, 1:11 better than in 2014. Josh Mansfield finished the 2015 event in 21:49, 29 seconds better than last year.
Jake Grdadolnik (20:57), Konnor Duncan (23:19) and Kirk Brauer (28:22) also competed for Kirtland.
“I was talking to the boys and they’re real close to the number before it,” Moran said. “Kevin was just over 19 and I said he’s got to stay in the 18s. We want to try to get at least that top four down in the 20s or under and I think we’ll be in decent shape for the conference.”