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Strongsville - Fleet Feet Invitational Recap

In the second consecutive weekend of late summer heat and humidity the Comets took on twenty-four teams at Strongsville High School in the Fleet Feet Strongsville Invitational.  This year's invitational featured three of the top five ranked programs in the state, Hudson, Medina, and St. Ignatius.    

In the varsity race, the top seven teams decidedly gapped the field scoring under two-hundred points each.  Unfortunately, the Comets ended up just on the outside of the top pack, finishing seventh overall, with one-hundred ninety-one points, fourteen points behind Strongsville and nineteen points behind Perrysburg.  

Senior, Chantz Visse, led the way for the Comets running a tactically brilliant race.  Visse held back early, coming through the mile in about twentieth place.  Visse moved through the field into the top ten at the two mile mark.  With eight-hundred meters to go Visse charged ahead of the top pack to take the overall lead.  Heading into Mustang Stadium, Visse led the field.  Then misfortune hit as Visse followed the pace cart towards midfield, instead of making a sharp left turn.  After realizing his mistake, Visse, took a step backwards to get back to return to the course, but his momentum had been derailed by that point and he fell to third place overall where he eventually finished.  Visse's 15:54.7 is his season best 5K time.  Not far behind Visse, Logan Esper, ran tough to hang on to the outskirts of the lead pack as he dry-heaved throughout the last half mile.  Esper rallied and kicked strongly into Mustang Stadium.  Esper's 16:07.9 is also his season best time and good for seventh place overall.

Brian Finnerty led the varsity chase pack from start to finish.  Finnerty ran the most evenly split race of the day.  Finnerty came through the one mile mark in 5:33.  5:33 pace per mile for 5K results in a 17:14 5K time.  Finnerty finished Saturday's race in a lifetime PR of 17:15.9.  Finnerty slowed off of his one mile pace by just one second over the last two miles.  A truly tremendous effort.  Quickly behind Finnerty, came sophomore, Aden Pickus, who also ran a lifetime PR 17:30.2.  Kareem Yousef closed out scoring for the varsity with an 80th place finish, diving just under the 18:00 barrier for a 17:59.4 finishing time, also a season best for Yousef.  

There is no Comet who has improved as much from 2016 to 2017 as senior, Joseph Feng.  Feng ran a lifetime PR of 19:44 in 2016.  In his first race of the 2017 season Feng ran a 40 second improvement in 19:04.4 on the Boardman course.  On Saturday, Feng bettered his time by an astonishing forty more seconds, finishing in 18:24.4.  Benny Shafron and Aman Jain rounded out competition for the Comets in the varsity race.  

Later in the day, the JV Comets bettered their varsity counterparts finishing fourth overall out of twenty-three teams.  The JV race turned into a fabulous competition between some of northeast Ohio's best cross country programs, Hudson, St. Ignatius, Medina, and Solon.  The JV Comets lost a tough race to Medina finishing just six points behind the Bees.  

Sophomore, Sam Young, led the way for the JV Comets, finishing sixth overall in the race.  Young's 17:51.6 ties his personal record set earlier this year on the Walsh-Jesuit course.  Young came out on top of what had been a hotly contested race between Comet teammates Young, David Howell, and freshman, Josh Baker.  Howell finished second out of that pack, running a lifetime personal record, 17:53.5.  Howell's first time underneath the 18:00 barrier!  Josh Baker also, literally leaned, underneath the 18:00 mark finishing in 17:59.9.  Baker's second time breaking 18:00 minutes this season.  

In another tight race between teammates, seniors, Joey Coladeangelo and Will Schneider rounded out scoring for the JV Comets.  Schneider picked up several points for the Comets kicking vigorously down the homestretch.  Schneider's kick fell just short of teammate Coladeangelo 18:39.01 to 18:39.07.  Sophomore Ben Gross led four teammates underneath the 19:30 mark.  Gross, Johnny Ciccero, Jimmy German, and Jonathan Gembarski all finished between 19:22.6 and 19:29.6.

Outside of the varsity training group who ran their second race of the season at Strongsville, there are only two Comets who have run a faster 5K every single week this season.  Huge shout outs to freshmen, Cameron Ray and Aman Daga.  In Ray's last three races he has run 20:50.2, 20:22.8, and 19:59.3!  In Daga's last four races he has finished 22:43.9, 22:35.0, 22:30.8, and 22:14.5!  Champions focus on how they can make themselves a little bit better each day.  Cameron and Aman have done a fabulous job of getting better everyday this season.  

FLEET FEET STRONGSVILLE INVITATIONAL SHOUT OUTS:       

Comet of the Week: Brian Finnerty's consistency earned him Comet of the Week honors for week six.  Two keys to successful distance running are patience and discipline.  Brian exemplified both of these characteristics during Saturday’s race.  Brian stayed calm and disciplined running within himself during the first mile coming through in 5:33.  Brian then stuck to the plan, stuck to the plan, and stuck to the plan throughout the race staying right on his 5:33 pace.  Brian's patience and discipline led to a lifetime personal record 17:15.9.  Congratulations Brian!  

Debut 5K's:  Kankariya (23:31.0) and Hale (25:35.0).  

Season bests: Visse (15:54.7), Esper (16:07.9), and Yousef (17:59.4).

Personal records: Finnerty (17:15.9), Pickus (17:30.1), Howell (17:53.5), Feng (18:24.4), Ray (19:59.3), Bozsvai (20:34.6), Daga (22:14.5), Dodeja (24:43.9).

Greatest improvement: Tao Dodeja ran a personal record for 5K by +1:04 minutes.  Fantastic work Tao!

The Comets are back in action this coming up Friday at the Gilmour Paul Primeau Invitational hosted at Gilmour Academy.  The varsity race goes off at 4:30 pm and the JV/Open race at 6:00 pm.