Boardman junior Mark Hadley came in first for the second consecutive year while leading the Spartan cross country team to a fifth straight Salem Early Bird Invitational championship. Boardman led the field with 36 points to second place Howland at 63 in a field of 12 teams at Waterworth Memorial Park in Salem.
Finishing right behind Hadley's time of 16:28 in fifth place was classmate Alan Burns in a time of 17:25. He was followed by freshman Nathan Hadley in a time of 17:44, which was good enough for 8th place overall out of 161 runners. Nathan Hadley's performance earned the young runner 2012's first BW3 Runner of the Week award.
"Nathan Hadley finishing in the top 10 in his first high school race is a very impressive accomplishment," said Boardman head coach John Phillips.
Scoring high for Boardman was junior Justin Maroni in 11th place in a time of 17:54. He was followed by sophomore Juan Santiago in 15th place with a time of 18:28 and senior Sam Sheronovich in 19th overall with a time of 18:33.
"We got a tremendous challenge from an improved Howland team as well as some runners from Hudson and South Range and stepped up our performance in order to repeat as invitational champions," said Phillips. "You never know how a team is going to respond in the first contest of the season, but our guys did what they had to in order to come out on top."