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Minerva sweeps in Akron

AKRON — Minerva’s state-ranked cross country teams both claimed team and individual championships at the Tommy Evans Akron Invitational on Saturday. The girls remain undefeated on the season.

The Minerva girls, led by sophomore winner Jenna Cassidy, remained unbeaten with their third straight inviational championship this year.

The Lions had five of the top eight runners to win going away with 22 points. Berea-Midpark was second with 51 and Medina Buckey third with 55.

Cassidy topped the 50-runner girls field in 20 minutes, 6 seconds over the 3.1-mile course at Silver Creek Metropark CC Trails.

“Jenna Cassidy utilized great race strategy today,” Minerva coach Olivia Scott said. “She sat on the leaders for the first two miles then used her speed for a great final 800 kick to claim her first varsity championship.”

Sophomore Madeline Crissman was runner-up (20:19), followed by the freshmen duo of Caitlyn Hopple in fourth (20:24) and Layla Monroe in seventh (21:06). Junior Aubrey Dunham finished eighth (21:39), while freshman Hera Hoffee was 12th (22:34), freshman Tori Dunham 13th (22:40) and junior Julie White 15th (23:15).

The Minerva boys also dominated with six of the top eight runners for 19 points. Medina Buckeye was second with 58.

Senior Nick Bledsoe took the lead in the 64-runner boys field in the first 400 meters and never looked back, claiming the boys title in 16:53.

“Nick Bledsoe was so strong today,” Scott said. “He had a great week of practice. We were running on a college course today, and Nick looked like a college runner.”

Connor Shingleton was runner-up (17:35), followed by Drew Spall in fourth (17:59), John Fink fifth (18:18), Brandon Davis seventh (18:26), Ben Brady eightth (18:43) and Jack Spall 11th (18:53).

Minerva will be tested at the Boardman Spartan Invitational next Saturday.

“We are so excited to race against some of the best competition in the state at Boardman (Sept. 14),” Scott said. “It will be a great test for both teams. I believe we are ready.”

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