By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- Chris Rupe and Ted Rupe are pretty familiar with each other.
That's not surprising -- they're brothers.
But their cross country teams are pretty familiar with each other, too.
Ted Rupe coaches Maplewood High's boys, who finished first out of 28 teams with 46 points at Saturday's Spartan Invitational at Boardman High School. Chris Rupe coaches McDonald, which finished second with 78 points. Maplewood was voted first unanimously in the latest Associated Press Division III cross country poll. McDonald was a unanimous second.
The Rupes even live next door to each other.
"Yeah, I know the coach over there really well," Ted said, laughing.
But they insist they're not rivals. Really.
"Our teams get along really well," Ted said. "Our front-runners finish higher, but they have better depth. We go back and forth.
"McDonald has a great program and I'd like to think we do too. I think we're two of the model programs in the state."
On top: For now, Maplewood is king. The Rockets had four top-10 finishers on Saturday, led by David Pykare, who placed fourth with a time of 16:48. Paul Moser (16:51) took sixth, John Palmer (17:07) ninth and Terry Rush (17:17) 10th for Maplewood. Derek Armstrong (17:37) finished 17th.
"We had a really strong team race," Pykare said. "We packed in together, if someone dropped off we told him to get up here and keep in line. The main goal is the team. Individual goals are second."
Joe Kunkel (17:18) and Jason Corman (17:18) ran 11-12 to lead McDonald. Kevin Stonestreet (17:36) was 16th, Kevin Corman (17:38) 18th and Tim Kunkel (17:43) placed 21st. McDonald's top runner, junior Matt Isenberg, is recovering from an injury and finished 28th with a time of 17:58.
"Maplewood gives us a target to shoot at," Chris said. "It's a pretty friendly rivalry. We got to camps together, we pull for each other. I've known all of them since they were 3 feet tall."
Brendan Robinson won the Div. III race with a time of 16:15 to lead Western Reserve Academy to a third-place finish with 100 points. Springfield's David Mealy finished seventh with a time of 17:03.
Division II: Mooney's Joe Taylor used a strong finish to edge Woodridge's Mike Petrak for fifth place out of 44 teams with a time of 16:37.
Mooney finished eighth with 294 points, followed by Girard, which won the state championship last year, with 351.
"A top five [finish] was one of my goals," said Taylor, who ran 17:22 at this event last year to finish 13th. "I knew it was going to be tough competition. Most of our Steel Valley events are Div. I teams so this was a chance to measure ourselves."
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's Anthony Mion finished first in 16:06. Highlands (Pa.) was first was 147 points, followed by Canton Central Catholic (195) and University School (201).
Division I: Tom Albani shook off some lingering flu symptoms to take sixth (16:32) as Boardman finished sixth out of 37 teams with 303 points.
"The flu has been going around all week, so it's been tough to get ready," Albani said. "But I thought it was a pretty good finish. This helps us measure ourselves."
Massillon Perry finished first with 109 points, followed by Massillon Jackson (121) and North Canton Hoover (128). A runner from Brunswick, whose name was unavailable, finished first at 16:05.