Cross country: Chardon boys, Kenston girls claim team titles at Frank Gibas Invitational

·4 min read

Aug. 27—With the blow of the whistle and the fire of the starting pistol, runners started their 2022 cross country campaigns at the Frank Gibas Invitational on Aug. 27 at Kenston.

After the first mile of the boys race, Chardon's Colin Snider was in the front pack of runners in about sixth place. But the Hilltopper continued his charge and fought his way to second place as he rounded the final turn and posted a time of 16 minutes, 24.8 seconds.

While he made up five positions before the finish, Snider was unable to catch Boardman's David D'Altorio, who won the race with a 16:19.0.

During his strong surge at the end, Snider had to make sure he kept his footing, as one of his shoes came untied in the final mile.

A second place for @chardonboyscc Colin Snider today at the Frank Gibas. It was a strong second portion of the race with a great kick at the end #NHXC

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) August 27, 2022

"When I come out fast like today, I was thinking, 'Where am I at and where do I need to be?" said Snider. "I knew that I needed to keep pushing forward. These were some great runners out here. So it was more of a power of wills."

The good runs for the Hilltoppers didn't stop with Snider, as Makoto Gumpf, Jacob Nieset and Thomas Nelson also posted times in the 16s and placed in the top 10. It was also the first race back for Nelson, as he had returned from overcoming pneumonia.

With four of their runners in the top 10, Chardon ran away with the team title with 42 points. Its closest competitor, Kenston, finished with 99, led by 12th place Kyle McMahan and 16th place Robert Phillips.

Coach Mark Shafer said the Hilltoppers have a lot of runners who can contend up front with the leaders. To see his team start the season with a title shows the progress they've made leading up to the season.

The Hilltoppers ran away with the team title and head coach Mark Shafer talks about the work that @chardonboyscc put in during the preseason #NHXC

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) August 27, 2022

"They've been doing that all summer, and it was a good summer of training," Shafer said. "We would go to different places and we would run as a group. There were long runs, short runs, aggressive runs and everything in between. In practice we see about six guys run together but another group of four are right behind them. This week was much better than last, but we can still do better. I know that a lot of guys can keep pace with Colin out front."

On the girls side, the host Bombers eked out a team title with four runners in the top 15. Emerson Greene led the way with her fourth-place finish in 19:34.1.

Kenston posted a team score of 84 to beat Stow (88) and Revere (97). Greene said the challenges of the course were going to test runners with three hills in the first mile. But she was ready for the challenge.

A fourth place to start the season is a great start to the season for @KenstonTrackCC junior Emerson Greene talks about the challenge of the course and the team title for the Bombers #NHXC

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) August 27, 2022

"This year I feel like I came in more prepared and positive," said Greene. "I think that with all the teams here it was an amazing competition and amazing runners as a whole. Pushing through the hills was a challenge for everyone. But getting to enjoy those downhill portions that I could take advantage of made it worth it."

Also in the top 10 was Chagrin Falls junior Mila Gresh. An All-Ohio runner a season ago, she started her year with a 20:02.6 and seventh place result.

With the graduation of Rose Hoelzel, Gresh has taken over as team leader and looks to help a young, inexperienced group of Tigers find their pace.

A seventh place finish for @ChagrinAD junior Mila Gresh today. She's adjusting to being the number one for the Tigers just fine so far #NHXC

— Ben Hercik (@BHercikNH) August 27, 2022

"It makes me feel really good," said Gresh. "I'm really confident in this team this season, we have a lot of really good runners this year and I'm excited to see what we can do as a team. I love being back out there with them and getting this season started."