The Solon boys cross-country team only had two of the same scorers from a year ago, but that didn’t stop the Comets from defending their Greater Cleveland Conference banner on Saturday at Garfield Park in Mentor.
Behind a runner-up finish from senior Matthew Costanzo, who wasn’t even a postseason runner last year, the state No. 4-ranked Comets scored 40 points to best runner-up Mentor, 60 points, third-place Brunswick, 87 points, fourth-place Medina, 97 points, and the rest of the field.
Mentor entered the meet with a No. 9 ranking among Division I contenders in the Ohio Association of Track and Cross-Country Coaches state poll, while Medina was ranked No. 20. The only teams ahead of Solon in the poll include defending state champion Hudson, Cincinnati St. Xavier and Mason.
Solon’s Costanzo finished the GCC 5-kilometer course in 16:11.87, just 0.84 second behind Medina junior title winner Cameron Schontzler, while Brunswick senior Colton Uber finished third in 16:13.94 among 57 runners in the varsity field.
Overall, Solon recorded a two-seven-eight-10-13 finished from its front five harriers, with each guy breaking the 17-minute barrier.
Solon junior Nathan Close took seventh in 16:33.57 and senior Sam Young was eighth in 16:40.20 as the only returning scorers for the Comets from last year’s league meet.
Meanwhile, sophomore Ryan Goldfeder took 10th in 16:44.64, after he was Solon’s No. 7 runner in 2018, and junior Johnny Ciccero finished 13th in 16:50.73. Ciccero won the open GCC race last year in 18:10.54, after missing most of the season with stress fracture in his foot.
Rounding out the Comets’ varsity squad on Saturday, freshman James Howell finished 22nd in 17:09.40, while senior Ben Shafron was 32nd in 17:18.01. And Solon sophomore Adam Yousef won the open race in 17:26.43.
In the girls varsity race, the Lady Comets took sixth with 115 points, while state No. 8-ranked Medina took home the team trophy with 48 points, state No. 14-ranked Shaker Heights was runner-up with 60 points, state No. 20-ranked Brunswick was third with 91 points and state No. 17-ranked Mentor was fourth with 98 points.
The Solon girls were led by sophomore Ellie Radis, who took sixth in 19:10.75 among 59 runners in the field. Medina senior all-Ohioan Juliette Keller won the individual title in 18:01.03.
Also scoring for the Lady Comets, sophomore Jada Freeman finished ninth in 19:23.34, sophomore Natalie Miller took 31st in 21:01.22, freshman Sarah Baker was 32nd in 21:02.85 and sophomore Jessie Kwiatkowski finished 37th in 21:24.85, while freshman Angie Getz, 21:27.31, and junior Sanem Yenibahar, 21:59.01, rounded out the varsity squad.
Up next, Solon will compete in the 17-team Division I district meet on Saturday at the Trumbull Country Fairgrounds in Cortland, with the Lady Comets racing at 12:30 p.m. and the Solon boys racing at 3 p.m.