On Friday, November 6th both the boys and girls cross-country teams traveled to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan the site of the MHSAA state finals. It’s been 7 years since both boys and girls cross-country teams have qualified to compete in the finals. There are 152 division 2 schools in the MHSAA and for both of our teams to qualify it is a great reflection of these athletes’ hard work.
This year’s finals were a little different. In order to keep athletes, coaches, and spectators safe some specific guidelines had been put in place. The first change was splitting all four divisions into 2 days. Division 1 and 2 were held on Friday and 3 and 4 were held on Saturday. The divisional races had been broken into two sections. Section one was all 3rd place regional teams and individual qualifiers. Section two was all 2nd place teams and regional champions. All spectators were restricted to the grandstands of the speedway. What this meant was the fastest runners in the state wouldn’t necessarily be racing head-to-head, because they would be in separate races. This held true for most of the day. Nonetheless, with everything that has happened in 2020 we were thrilled to have a state championship of any kind.
The race conditions were a little different than they had been for the regional a week earlier. From 34 degrees with snow flurries to 70 degrees and 15-20 mph winds. The boys race was the first up. Braydon Honsinger and Jacob Wurtzel got out well and competed well up front. Braydon Honsinger’s 6th place finish in his section held up to finish 16th overall, which is Braydon’s second consecutive season achieving all-state status. This is especially impressive given the fact that Braydon was not running in the month of September. Jacob Wurtzel’s 48th place finish was 55 places better than his 103rd place finish last season. Braden Klein, Alex Deeter, Jacob Kaczor, Jacob Alexander, and Carter Vasicek all ran tough races. The boys team finished 21st out of 27 teams competing.
The girls team was also racing in the first section. Mara, Kiera, and Whitney knew going into the race that they would be in the front of this race pack. At 1.5 miles in all three were in the top 10 and Mara and Kiera were in the 2nd and 3rd positions. Heading into the stadium with about 1 kilometer remaining Kiera had seized the lead. She stormed home running an impressive final mile in the windiest stretch of the course to finish 1st in her section. Closely behind her was her teammate Mara finishing in 3rd. Both girls had amazing races. On a day where most athletes were running 30 seconds slower than their personal records, Kiera ran a season best time and Mara was only 11 seconds shy of her PR. The girls would have to wait and watch to see what the next section would run to see how their times would hold up. Once the results came in both ladies would finish in the top 10!. For the third season in a row Kiera had achieved all-state status. Freshman year she was 28th, last year she was 17th and this year she would finish 7th. For Mara this was her fist all-state finish. Her freshman state meet she finished 212th, last season 144th, and this year 10th. Whitney Farrell, Bella Reed, Sasha Seegobin, Ally Harvey, Paige Kloha all turned in gutsy performances on a tough racing day. The girls team finished 12th out of 27 teams competing.
Both teams gained valuable experience competing in this year’s finals. 13 out of 14 of the athletes making up these two state teams will return for the 2021 season. The coaching staff would like to thank all of our athletes for a very memorable season. We wish our seniors; Hannah Niederquell, Hope Kloha, Caitlyn Mieske, Lawson Brady, Lydia Klopf, Carter Vasicek, Noah Robbins, Mason Metiva, and Eli Folts all the best in everything they do.