KIRKERSVILLE — The Hilliard Davidson High School boys cross country team is going to need to make more room in its trophy case.
Davidson continued its string of success Nov. 10 by finishing runner-up to Hudson for the second straight year in the Division I championship race at National Trail Raceway. The Explorers outscored the Wildcats 107-153. Mason (158) was third.
Gahanna (244) and Pickerington North (256) took seventh and eighth place, respectively.
“We’re real pleased to come out of here with a trophy again,” Davidson coach Pat Schlecht said. “Hudson’s a great nationally ranked team and we needed to run a near-perfect race to beat them. Looking at the stats, our fifth scorer had to be a little closer for us to have a chance. There was a rather large displacement there.”
The Wildcats, who will run at the Nike NXN regional race in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Nov. 11, were led by Conner Johanssen (eighth, 16 minutes, 16.2 seconds) and Max LeClair (29th, 16:44.4). Their fifth runner, however, came in 112th.
“We knew how good Hudson was and we kept our goals realistic and that was to get on the podium,” said Johanssen, who surged from 15th in the final 1,000 meters.
Since 2000, Davidson has won the state once (2002), been runner-up four times and cracked the top five five additional times.
The area’s top finisher in the race was regional champion Matt Duvall of Pickerington North, who took seventh (16:13) just ahead of Johanssen.
“The pace went out a little too fast and I tried to draft off some other runners for a while until I was ready to make my move,” Duvall said. “I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do strategy-wise, but I was kind of hoping to get third or fourth coming in. All things considered, I’m pretty happy.”
Elliott Cook of Dublin Jerome took 11th (16:20.5).
In Division II, Peninsula Woodridge captured its eighth title with 109 points. Regional champion Heath was fifth (200).
“Honestly, we did about as well as we could,” Heath coach Scott Brown said. “We just wanted to make a run at it. We didn’t get out quite as fast as we would have liked and that came back to bite us. But it’s a young group and we hope to be back again next year.”
Xavier Foehl of Heath was the area’s top finisher, placing 15th in 16:47.2. Luke Malone of Jonathan Alder was 19th (16:51.4).
Fort Loramie won the Division III title with 127 points. Mount Gilead was fifth (165) and Fredericktown eighth (189).
Taylor Vallangeon of Worthington Christian topped the area contingent, placing ninth in 16:52.8.
“I came in wanting to go under 16 minutes but the conditions didn’t cooperate,” Vallangeon said, referring to sub-freezing temperatures and a muddy course that resulted in considerably slower times for all runners. “I was in the top six or seven for a while, but it feels good to make the top 10.”
The individual champions were Conant Smith of Middletown (15:43.4) in Division I, Kyle Johnston of Lexington (15:52.9) in Division II and Noah Fisher of Defiance Ayersville (16:14.4) in Division III.