Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Runners close out regular season at Legends Meet

Cross country runners from Cardinal, Independence and Kirtland closed out the regular season at The Legends Meet at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

And they did it in style.

Independence senior Tyler Polman ran a new personal record of 15:37 to finish second overall in the boys’ big school race while Cardinal’s Joey Bradesca, Clayton Sauberan and Autumn Zak all ran person best times and Kirtland’s Jake Grdadolnik, Konnor Duncan, Nick Briggs, Kirk Brauer, Sydney Snyder, Ninah Johnson, Katie David and Zoe Gregory all ran lifetime PRs. Holly Samf and Ellie David ran season PRs for the Hornets.

“The times are coming down at the right time of the season and that's how we set up the training so I am very happy to see that progress,” said Kirtland coach JP Moran. “We are getting very close to taking the next step, a couple guys are knocking on the 17s and a couple girls knocking on the door of the 19s, and if you want to have a chance at making any noise in the incredibly tough and talented Northeast Ohio District and Region that's where we need to go.”

Polman, who finished just 12 seconds behind big school race winner Andre Bollam-Godbott, a senior from Brunswick, in his first appearance at the Legends Meet.

“I had been to the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in eighth grade for the Sim Earich Invitational,” Polman said. “I was satisfied with my race. Running up in the large school division and finishing second with a new PR of 15:37 was exciting. Strategically, I positioned myself well early into the race and also executed attacks at the right time. The field consisted of many highly respected runners in the state and this was a large contribution to the quick times on a relatively flat course. I feel like I may have waited too long to kick in the end as it may have cost me a second or two, but this performance boosts my confidence coming into the postseason.”

Independence freshmen Wyatt Balser, Gregory Adams, Thorin Chappel and sophomore Kishore Gowrishankar also competed. Balser finished in 21:33, Adams came in at 22:54, Chappel closed out the race in 24:49 and Gowrishankar ran a time of 29:35.

Senior Dana Zaccardelli led the Blue Devils in the girls’ race. She finished 24th in the big school race with a time of 19:54. Freshman Emily Skoczen was 46th in 20:53 and senior Maria Sagi (21:06) and sophomore Emma Wensink (23:03) also competed.

Cardinal coach Megan Cameron was pleasantly surprised by how well her runners finished.

“We had a long, hard training week so I was very surprised at the times they ran,” Cameron said. “It seems like each of the new runners are figuring out how to race at the high school level. I’m looking forward to seeing these times drop even more in the coming weeks.”

Bradesca, a junior, finished in 19:53 while Sauberan, a freshman, came in at 23:21.

Allissa Nevison paced the Huskies in the girls’ race. She finished in 23:11.

“When the races are bigger it helps me a lot,” Nevison said. “There is always someone around you and it creates competition. It makes me want to push myself even more to pass someone. My time was decent yesterday, it was in the low 23s, but I'm hoping to cut off almost a minute before the end of the season. I was so close to breaking 22 minutes, which was slightly disappointing that I didn't make it.”

Zak, a freshman, finished in 24:16 and freshman Jenna Ayer and senior Shelby Miller also ran. Ayer finished in 24:29 while Miller came in at 32:49.

Duncan finished 81st for the Hornets in 18:17.

“I think the fact that there were so many different runners helped me a lot,” Duncan said. “When I run, I like to pick someone a little bit better than me and run with them to improve my time. I'm very proud of my time because I ran my fastest time for a 5k and my fastest second mile.”

Grdadolnik, a sophomore, came in at 18:27 and junior Colton Zanko finished in 19:45. Briggs, a sophomore, ran a time of 21:02 while freshman Andrew Schneider and Brauer, a sophomore, finished in 21:06 and 21:59, respectively.

Freshman Lauren Snyder finished in 50th place for the Hornets in the girls’ small school race. She ran a time of 20:22. Her sister, Sydney Snyder, a junior, was 58th with a time of 20:38.

David, a sophomore, completed the race in 23:36. Sophomore Emily Crebs came in at 23:57 and Johnson, a freshman, ran the race in 24:10.

Samf, a junior, and David, a freshman, finished in 24:21 and 24:38, respectively, while junior Sabrina Rahz ran a 25:19. Gregory, a sophomore, finished in 26:40 and junior Schuylar South finished in 31:40.

All three teams return to action on Saturday when they will compete in the Chagrin Valley Conference meet at the Perry Outdoor YMCA.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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