A strong group of Bangor runners banded together Wednesday to claim four of the top six spots at the Southwest 10 Conference cross country championship at Centreville en route to a boys team title.
The Vikings scored 50 points to hold off Mendon (63) and Bloomingdale (83). White Pigeon was fourth with 109 and Centreville was fifth with 118.
Bloomingdale’s girls team couldn’t be caught as the Cardinals posted a winning score of 43. Bangor was runner-up with 67, Centreville placed fourth with 80, White Pigeon was eighth (223) and Mendon was 10th (264).
Terrence Young finished as the boys individual champion. The senior beat Bangor’s Alvaro Martinez by half a second, logging a time of 17 minutes, 13.03 seconds.
The first local competitor to cross the line was Mendon’s Keaton Crotser (senior), who clocked in at 17:21.26. Freshman teammate Charlie Newburry was 10th overall in 18:33.70, and Colin Steinberger, also a freshman, was 13th in 18:56.92.
Centreville’s Justus Chupp (senior) placed fifth in 17:28.54, and fellow Bulldogs senior Ross Hunter was 16th (19:11.10). White Pigeon senior Cole Shafer placed 11th (18:38.04). Others from St. Joseph County to finish in the top 20 were Mendon’s Wyatt Cupp (17th, 19:16.31), White Pigeon’s Stone Kemp (18th, 19:19.33), and Mendon’s Connor Henckel (19th, 19:21.23) and Dakota Ames (20th, 19:24.17).
Chupp, Crotser, Newburry, Steinberger, Ames, Henckel and Shafer all made the All-Southwest 10 Conference First Team for their performances throughout the season. Earning spots on the Second Team were Hunter, Cupp and Mendon’s Ross Dudley.
An award that has been given out in the SJV, BCS, and now SW10 to a courageous runner.
Bill Swanwick was a Centreville junior high teacher, junior high principal, and high school counselor from 1967-1990. He coached track from 1965-1978 and in 1976 was named Michigan Track Coach of the Year. He also coached cross country from 1973-1990 before passing away in December of 1990. Bill’s wife, children, and grandchildren are still very involved in the Centreville community and several of them were at the meet today.
Swanwick recognized that cross country was not only about speed and performance, but it was also about courage. He was equally impressed with slow and fast runners alike, so the award need not be for the fastest, but ones who show courage and keep on running.
A senior boy and a senior girl are selected.
Wyatt Cupp (Mendon) and Amy Adams (Cassopolis) received the Leagues Bill Swanwick Courageous Runner Award.
In the girls competition, Bloomingdale’s Nelly Gonzalez turned in the fastest time of the day in 20:06.37. Centreville freshman Abagail Schlabach was fourth overall in 20:57.19, teammate Gabriella Schlabach was 13th (22:37.30) and Morgan Walton was 18th (22:59.05).
Audrey Baker was the top finisher for White Pigeon in 32nd place (25:07.67) and Mendon’s MaKenzie Oatley was 51st in 28:07.10.
Making the all-conference first team from St. Joseph County were Abagail and Gabriella Schlabach. Walton, Asia Pratel and Alexa Jackson, all from Centreville, earned spots on the second team.
Photos by Nicci Plummer