July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Cross country: Balanced Blue Devils finish strong to take crown

Jon Huff | The Gazette

MENTOR — The Brunswick girls cross country team does not sit back in the pack, and the Blue Devils got sick of it after a mere quarter-mile on Saturday.

After two turns, the Blue Devils moved up as a group and stayed there to win the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division Meet at Garfield Park for the second straight year.

Louiza Wise-led Solon and Medina went out quick before Brunswick made its move. Vanessa Pasadyn settled into the front four, with her teammates taking control behind her.

Medina’s Maria Scavuzzo pushes toward the finish line. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY BRIAN SMITH)

At the halfway point, Wise held the lead with Pasadyn right behind. Geneva Sandridge, Solon’s No. 2, ran in third and closed the gap.

When the runners made the hairpin turn into the final half-mile loop, Wise had a comfortable lead. She won in 18:47.5.

Pasadyn remained in second, but her lead over Sandridge shrank with each stride. Sandridge made her move and took over second. Pasadyn tried to hold on, but Sandridge put enough space between herself and Pasadyn to take the 1-2 finish for the Comets.

“I knew to hang with the Solon girl,” Pasadyn said. “I knew this is a pretty small field, so I could take it out pretty strong and just hang with the girls that I usually do.”

Solon had its moment of glory, but from Pasadyn on, the focus turned to Brunswick. Rebecca Craddock finished fourth, while Kristine Camper fought off Hudson’s Gabby Palazzo for sixth. Hannah Meyer (12th) and Katie Pavlick (13th) completed the scoring.

“I knew our team was going to do well because there’s only 40-some people here and we had a strong pack,” Pasadyn said. “Most of us had decent times, especially because this course is kind of hilly. We all packed pretty well. Coach (Kerry Hunter) said to make that a goal — to win.”

The Bees finished fourth behind Maria Scavuzzo (4th) and Sarah Pack (9th). The team ran without No. 3, Tessa Dombi, who experienced a late injury.

“We didn’t run great, but we ran pretty well,” coach Scott VanFleet said. “We had two in the top 10, so I was happy with that. I’m not ecstatic, but I’m happy with the way things worked out.”

Kyle Mau of Hudson and Kevin Blank of Solon ran together for most of the boys’ race before Mau pulled away to the victory. Solon won the team title by placing three in the top 10.

Brunswick’s boys went to the front early in the race, but fell back as it progressed. Tim Bizon competed for places in the top 10 throughout along with Medina’s Dan Schwendler. Bizon finished strong, but could not catch Solon’s Kevin Burns for 10th. Schwendler crossed the line just behind Bizon for 12th.

Dylan Dombi followed Schwendler into the chute. Dombi ran as high as sixth but struggled one week after suffering knee discomfort at Medina Festival.

“Dylan was a question mark going into it because of last week,” Medina coach Milt Place said.

The Bees finished fifth and the Blue Devils were sixth.

“It’ just a tough conference,” Place said. “Any one of the first five would have won the Lake Division and would’ve been second in the River Division. A couple of these teams — at least — are going to get to the state meet.”

Contact Jon Huff at sports@medina-gazette.com.

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