by Steve Batko | Correspondent
The Streetsboro boys cross country team had to battle weather conditions and team depth issues at the Malone Invitational Sept. 21.
Placing 15th with 388 points in the 18-team Division II race wasn't too bad considering the field of teams at Malone University in Canton.
The Rockets competed in a field that included state-ranked teams from Bay Village, Pemberville Eastwood, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and Crestwood. Talented Millersburg West Holmes and Dover also competed at Malone.
"The boys ran on an extremely rainy day and we were running very short-handed after losing Alec Bindus, one of our top runners to injury and Jacob Fifik because of a soccer conflict," said first-year head coach Tyler Bunch.
Bay won the title with 57 points and Eastwood (95) and CVCA (100) took second and third, respectively.
CVCA's Ryan Adams placed first out of 129 runners with a time of 16 minutes, 59.6 seconds.
Junior Tyler Garman paced the Rockets by running 48th overall in 19:15.3. He had a 6:12-mile pace and a 3K split of 11:24.
"Tyler ran an exceptional race, especially when you consider they ran one of the last races of the day on a very wet and muddy course," said Bunch.
"During our race, one of the hills became so slick that there were kids falling left and right, so I wasn't exactly expecting PRs [personal records]."
Another junior, Jake Gould, placed 62nd with a time of 19:54.4.
Freshman Jake Suttell ran third for the Rockets in 20:21.3 (76th), followed by junior Tomlin Burgess (89th, 20:59.4). Freshman Kenny Guzy finished 115th (23:55.2), while senior Matt Kolke placed 117th at 24:20.6.
"I knew we would need Kenny Guzy to step it up and he ran well and placed in our top five for the first time this season, which was really nice to see," said Bunch.
The Rockets are scheduled to run in the Legends Invitational Oct. 5 at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Cortland.
"I think the guys have been working really hard and at this point, we're just starting to focus on the Portage Trail Conference and districts," said Bunch.