ELYRIA — Mike Hollingsworth wasted no time in showing he was more than up to the task of defending his title at Saturday’s 44th Jack Wilhelm Cross Country Classic.
Hollingsworth, a Clearview senior, clocked 18 minutes, 13.88 seconds, nearly duplicating the winning time of 18:12.40 he posted a year ago.
“I knew that I had to establish myself right away,” Hollingsworth said. “Matt (Mike’s brother) set up another pack so that I could break away from the field, which ended up working out.”
The only serious battle up front was for second place.
Creighton Jensen, a Brookside sophomore, ran a 18:28.68, pulling away in the last mile or so from Matt Hollingsworth (18:43.56), Mike’s twin brother and fellow senior.
“He was ahead of me most of the way by a few strides,” Jensen said. “I’ve been close, but this is the first time I’ve beaten him. I just stayed behind him until the next to last straightaway.”
Just last weekend at the Vermilion invite, Matt Hollingsworth (17th, 17:01.81) beat Jensen (29th, 17:25.10) by more than 23 seconds.
The Clearview boys team was the class of the field, winning its second invitational of the season after also winning the Open Door Invitational. On the strength of five runners finishing in the top 11 overall, the Clippers finished with 54 points. North Ridgeville (74) edged out Brookside (78) for second.
“This is a good course for a workout with the hill and all,” Mike Hollingsworth said. “You just try not to focus on your legs feeling heavy. The mission today was to break away and not to give any of the other runners something to chase off of. You just keep going and run your own race.”
The victory was Mike’s fourth career win. He also swept the Open Door invite the last two years.
Senior Shane Horstmann (ninth, 19:51.30), sophomore Noah Parsons (10th, 19:54.30) and sophomore Jacob Coreino (11th, 19:58.21) rounded out Clearview’s top five.
“We’ve always been missing that No. 5 runner,” Clearview coach Jason Steadman said. “Now, our No. 3 through 5 runners are running together. There’s competition between them, which is awesome. They’re go-getters now.”
Lorain County runners also did well on the girls side. Brookside put its first two runners in front of Valley Forge’s No. 1, which proved to be the difference in a 32-43 cardinals win.
“They’ve done better and better all along,” Brookside coach Stan Hughes said of his team. “They didn’t believe they could do anything. Now they understand. It’s like that in our conference … everyone’s got a shot. Whoever runs best on that day they could make it a go. I’m very pleased with them.
“They keep hearing it from the coaches that they’re better than they think they are, but they’re kids. They’re not always going to believe it until they do something concrete to tell them that they got a trophy or a plaque. It does more good than we as coaches could ever do.”
Juniors Emilee Gil (third, 24:15.44) and Katy Ackerman (fourth, 24:45.28) led the Cardinals. Junior Savannah Pliszka (sixth, 25:02.73), freshman Jocelyn Miller (seventh, 25:20.72) and junior Elizabeth Nardi (12th, 26:44.93) rounded out the top five.
It was also a big day for Midview sophomore Shannon Adams, who won her first career invitational in 22:17.95, easily defeating Cuyahoga Heights junior Madison Bacci (23:07.21).
“Today feels amazing,” Adams said. “I never considered cross country last year, but I did run track. My sister, Erin, helped get me interested. I took over today right before the mile mark (and the hill). I was running my own pace by then.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Team scores: 1. Clearview (CL), 34; 2. North Ridgeville (N), 74; 3. Brookside (B), 78; 4. Valley Forge, 111; 5. Midview (M), 113; 6. Oberlin (O), 143; 7. Cuyahoga Heights, 144
Top 3: 1. Mike Hollingsworth (CL), 18:13.88; 2. Creighton Jensen (B), 18:28.68; 3. Matt Hollingsworth (CL), 18:43.56
Other top local runners
5. Riley Gannon (N), 19:35.00; 6. Nick Brenneman (B), 19:36.76; 7. Jared Hutman (M), 19:39.27; 8. Simon Perales (O), 19:50.37; 9. Shane Horstmann (CL), 19:51.30; 10. Noah Parsons (CL), 19:54.30; 11. Jacob Coreino (CL), 19:58.23; 12. Derrick Vik (N), 19:59.49; 14. Lenny Eierman (B), 20:10.17; 15. Justin Raynak (B), 20:34.71; 17. Tommy Sherfey (N), 20:47.40; 18. Garrett Duktig (N), 20:59.29; 19. Ben Pavel (M), 21:31.64; 20. Dima Bosch (O), 21:34.23; 21. Roberto Torres (CL), 21:45.76; 22. Jeff Reffert (N), 21:46.50; 23. Don Henderson (N), 21:47.78; 25. Nate Dortman (N), 22:17.13
Team scores: 1. Brookside, 32; 2. Valley Forge, 43; 3. Midview, 66; 4. Cuyahoga Heights (CH), 78
Top 3: 1. Shannon Adams (M), 22:17.55; 2. Madison Bacci (CH), 23:07.21; 3. Emilee Gil (B), 24:15.44
Other top local runners
4. Katy Ackerman (B), 24:45.28; 6. Savannah Pliszka (B), 25:02.73; 7. Jocelyn Miller (B), 25:20.72; 12. Elizabeth Nardi (B), 26:35.73; 13. Melissa Matwig (M), 26:44.93; 14. Hailey Kunath (M), 27:04.72; 15. Erin Adams (M), 27:09.50; 17. Emily Ackerman (B), 28:22.95; 23. Michele Manuk (M), 31:39.73