Sharpsville Blue Devil Invitational - Meet Recap
PRs and close finishes were the order of the day at this year's Sharpsville Blue Devil Invitational as sunshine and warm temperatures met the runners on a firm double-loop course in Buhl Park.
Matching strides over the final mile, juniors Maddison Hayes of Fairview and Meaera Shannon of Conneaut got the large crowd into the action immediately with a great conclusion to the girls' varsity race. Moving up from fourth two years ago and 6th overall in 2018, Hayes hit the finish line banner first in a personal-best 18:45.0 for her third consecutive invite win in 2019. Shannon, who finished one place ahead of Hayes a year ago, was a close second in 18:46.1, while junior Halle Myers of Fairview was next in 19:13.1.
In the team standings, top-ranked and defending Class A state champion Marion Center claimed the top spot by the narrowest of margins. In their return to the invitational for the first time in four years, the Stingers were the champions by one point over Boardman, Ohio, 189-190, with Harbor Creek (203), McDowell (210) and Corry Area (214) all within 25 points of the winner. Senior Alyx Cornetto led Chris Peters' team in 16th in the 278-runner field.
The champion in the boys' varsity race was not decided for almost 15 minutes after the first runners crossed the line as junior Zach Buckner of Fairview and Brody Rupe of McDonald, the top-ranked Division III team in Ohio, crossed the line as one. Race officials initially handed Rupe, a junior who was fourth in the 2019 1,600 in the Buckeye state, the No. 1 stick after the sub-16:00 runners finished.
However, after reviewing the finish line camera, Buckner was declared the winner by the slimmest of margins and credited with a lifetime best of 15:48.8 for his second big meet win of the season. Rupe's time of 15:48.9 also was his fastest XC clocking and third consecutive invitational runner-up award to go with a victory and third thus far in a busy 2019.
The largest margin of victory in the varsity races went to Taylor Allderdice, which won the boys' team title with 96 points behind the senior leadership of Eli Anish, who was seventh overall in a field of 330-plus finishers. McDowell was next with 136, while McDonald finished third as some of their top runners were not in the field.