by Steve Batko | Correspondent
As the temperatures soared at the Ashley White-Stumpf Memorial Invitational, the young Streetsboro boys cross country team also started to heat up.
Hosted by Marlington High School, the meet saw the Rockets place seventh with 219 points in the 14-team Division II competition Aug. 30 in Alliance.
"The guys got their first peek at some of the teams in our conference and also had the best races of our young season," head coach Tyler Bunch said.
Crestwood won with 53 points, followed by Field (67) and Massillon Tuslaw (84).
"We just missed getting the entire team under the 20-minute mark," Bunch said.
"It was a warm sunny day where the temperatures were dipping into the 90s. Luckily, we got our race in before it got too hot."
Crestwood's Jeremiah Fitzgerald captured first place out of 176 runners with a time of 16 minutes, 34.9 seconds.
Sophomore Jake Suttell led the way with a 28th-place finish with a mark of 18:48.2.
"Once again, Jake ran well," Bunch said.
Suttell was supported by classmate Alec Bindus, who posted a time of 19:03.6, which was good for 32nd.
"Alec was extremely close to getting into the 18-minute mark, which I anticipate happening very soon," Bunch said.
Freshman Tommy Duncan ran 54th with a time of 19:54.5 and senior Jake Gould placed 56th with a clocking of 19:56.5.
Rounding out the team scoring was senior Tyler Garman (61st, 20:00.5).
"One of the highlights of the meet for me was seeing Tommy Duncan get under 20 minutes at only his third cross country meet," Bunch said. "Tommy and Bailey [Deevers] have very bright futures and it is exciting to see how low they can drop their times as freshmen.
"Overall this was an amazing team performance and possibly the best I've seen the team since I began coaching.
"For only having six guys on our team, we are a force to be reckoned with. We are very lucky to have six guys who are so
committed to being successful."
The Rockets placed eighth out of 11 teams with 191 points at the East Canton Invitational Aug. 27.
Suttell crossed 24th overall with a time of 18:49, while Bindus was 30th (19:15).
Gould finished 44th with a time of 19:51 and Garman was 52nd (20:02.7). Rounding out the top five as Deevers (57th, 20:16).
"I thought the boys ran very well at East Canton," Bunch said. "Jake ran particularly well and broke into the 18s for the first time ever. He ran a great race and all of his hard work is starting to pay off.
"Alec also ran well and the guys are really coming around."
Streetsboro is scheduled to compete at the Champion Invitational Sept. 6 in Warren.
The Rockets are set to compete at the Portage Trail Conference Country Division Meet Sept. 8 at Wingfoot Lake State Park in Suffield.
Starting times for both races were not available at press time.
"Another point of emphasis has been our finishes," Bunch said. "We do not get passed on the final sprint. They have done really well in this regard.
"You would think some of our guys were 100-meter sprinters with the way they've been finishing."