The word is certainly out by now.
The Kenston boys cross-country team is no joke, as the Bombers put out seven harriers who posted sub-17:00 performances during the seventh Frank Gibas Invite Saturday on their home 5-kilometer course in Bainbridge Township.
With a five-10-13-16-17 showing from their front five, the Kenston boys scored 61 points for a three-peat title, defeating runner-up University School, 109 points, third-place Brecksville-Broadview Heights, 125 points, and the rest of the 29 schools in the field.
“I think it all started in the summer,” Kenston junior Jack Turk said. “The coaches had us building our foundation and mileage. We’ve run the most miles of any season I’ve been a part of this team, and we’ve really been putting in some good speed workouts, and our chemistry has been really good this year with David Rosinski leading our team camaraderie.”
Rosinski, a senior, finished fifth in 16:18.2 to lead the Bombers among 231 varsity runners in the field on Saturday, while Turk took 10th in 16:35.4, junior Garrett McConnell was 13th in 16:43.1, junior Tyler McMahan finish 16th in 16:50.6 and junior Dennis Princic took 17th in 16:50.6 – just a 32.4-second gap among the scoring positions.
Bringing up the rear of the pack, Kenston junior Maxwell Reardon took 18th in 16:51.9, senior Casey Pleune was 20th in 16:56.6 and junior Nathan Bertman clocked a 17:05.9 to finish 25th.
While the course conditions were favorable on Saturday, the Bombers hadn’t had seven sub-17:00 runners at their home invite since 2016, when they finished runners-up to eventual Division I state champion Solon.
“I think it’s huge,” Turk said of Kenston’s depth. “I don’t think we’ve had a team since I’ve been in high school where this early in the season we’ve had seven, not even five, under 17 (minutes). So, that was huge, and that really boosted our confidence that we’re going to be able to run fast in November when it matters.”
Entering the race, the Kenston boys were ranked No. 11 among Division I teams in the first Ohio Association of Track and Cross-Country Coaches state poll, despite the Bombers resting their varsity squad the preceding Saturday.
While there’s no denying Kenston’s placers and order of finishers will be in flux this fall, Turk finished in second position for his team for the first time of his varsity career.
“I think the first mile we went out in like a 5:12,” he said. “It was a pretty good pace, and I started feeling it. I think that’s what made my race, was in the second mile I pushed through. In the third mile, I just had the goal in mind to break 17 (minutes), because I hadn’t done that yet. So, I’m just really happy with my race and the team. There was a lot of good competition.”
While three guys broke 16 minutes, quite the battle played out for first and second, as Boardman senior Mitchell Dunham clocked a triumphant 15:30.0 to edge out University School senior Justin Iler by 0.1 second for a 5:00-mile pace. Aurora sophomore Matthew Singleton took third in 15:56.6.
A top-10 finisher at last year’s state meet, Iler led the Preppers to a runner-up showing on Saturday with junior Ben LaFave finishing 12th in 16:39.6, junior Griffin Walsh taking 15th in 16:48.1, sophomore Nate Miller clocking a 17:02.1 for 24th and senior Riley Steiner rounding out University’s scorers in 17:47.5 for 56th.
Also representing the maroon-and-black harriers were senior Cameron Monesmith, 17:49.6, junior Chris Frerichs, 17:57.4, senior Isaiah Waiters, 18:40.9, and junior Stefan Leonard, 18:54.6.
The West Geauga boys finished eighth as a team with junior Patrick Garrett taking 19th in 16:54.7 to lead the Wolverines, while junior John Patterson took 32nd in 17:17.3, junior Kenneth Kirk was 41st in 17:33.0, senior Anthony Tirabassi finished 55th in 17:45.5 and freshman Chris Whiting was 73rd in 18:02.0 to provide scoring positions.
Also turning in top performances for West Geauga, sophomore Lorenzo Linek clocked an 18:27.0, freshman Grant Congdon stopped the watch at 18:42.1 and sophomore Dakota Deets crossed the line in 18:44.6
And the Chagrin Falls boys took 13th as a team with senior Tyler Feeney pacing the Tigers in 16:58.2 for 21st, while sophomore Hunter Longo finished 40th in 17:32.6, senior Alexander Partian clocked an 18:29.3, senior Tucker White crossed the line in 18:37.1 and sophomore Ryan Mateyo stopped the watch in 18:40.2 for scoring positions.
Other top performers for the Tigers were sophomore Isaac Bourne, 18:45.2, senior Joseph Mrofchak, 18:53.5, and sophomore Christopher Baker, 18:54.3.