The top runners in the state gathered at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn Saturday for the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Cross Country Championships.
Jozef Meyers, a senior from Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, ended his prep career in 21st place with a blistering time of 15 minutes, 58.8 seconds. Plymouth senior Carter Solomon was crowned state champion with a stunning time of 15:01.2. Brighton took the Division 1 team title with a score of 136, which included a third-place finish by Jack Spamer (senior) in 15:17.1 and a fourth-place effort by Zachary Stewart (senior) in 15:30.7.
Portage Northern’s Matthew Schieber (senior) was 87th overall in 16:36.4 and sophomore teammate Drew Gonzalez placed 122nd in 16:48.8.
Portage Central junior Ellie Voetberg claimed 25th overall after crossing the line in 18:33.2 to lead the local pack. Kalamazoo Loy Norrix senior Ella Schnell turned in a 50th-place time of 19:17.7. Ann Arbor Pioneer secured a team championship with 80 points, led by individual winner Zofia Dudek (senior), who ran a time of 17:00.4.
Gull Lake junior Koby Fraaza hung in there with the best in Division 2 to finish fifth overall in 15:50.9. East Grand Rapids senior Evan Bishop was the top finisher for a state-title time of 15:12.6. Fremont was anointed team champion with a score of 68.
Dowagiac’s Shawn Little (senior) also represented the local contingent well with a top-10 performance. Little was seventh in 15:58.3. Edwardsburg senior Jack Leman was 47th in 16:50.6, Vicksburg junior Joey Loriso placed 87th (17:11.7) and Dowagiac’s Cole Parker (junior) took 114th in 17:23.0.
The top local performance of the day belonged to Gull Lake senior Kayla Eklund, who crossed the line in 51stplace after running a time of 19:44.3 in a wild finish. The individual championship belonged to St. Johns junior Sarah Zehr, who finished in 19:37.3. There were 67 runners that were right on her heels, finishing within 23 seconds of the winning time. East Grand Rapids pulled off a team championship with 36 points and four top-10 finishers.
Finishing 17th overall was Parchment sophomore Garrett Winter, whose time of 16:39.1 was the fourth-fastest by an underclassman in the race. Benzie Central freshman Hunter Jones, though, won a state title in 15:45, making him the runner to beat through 2022.
Fellow Panthers William Winter, a freshman, was 77th in 17:31.1, junior Liam Houtkooper was 104th in 17:47.6, senior Jamie Terrill was 130th in 18:09.5, senior Sam Reynolds took 205th in 18:59.6, sophomore Dylan McLean was 222nd in 19:21.3 and junior Ethan Rupp was 240th in 20:13.8. Hanover-Horton scored 146 points for the team championship and Parchment placed 15th with 350.
Leading the way for the locals was Galesburg-Augusta senior Lauryn Coleman, who placed 45th with a time of 20:18.7. Stockbridge sophomore Rylee Tolson won the individual championship in 18:31.4 and Hart was the team winner with 77 points. Comstock’s Lydia Kruis was 60th (20:33.9), Centreville junior Gabriella Schlabach finished 66th in 20:35.4, while sister Abigail Schlabach (junior) was 78th in 20:45.6.
Parchment’s Mary Dow (junior) ended the race in 120th (21:16.3), Galesburg-Augusta freshman Hailey Abbott was 123rd (21:19.1), teammates Jacey Orr (senior) finished 127th (21:23.8), Aubree Sedore (junior) finished 128th (21:23.9) and Avery Coleman (sophomore) was 167th (22:15.9), and Kayleigh Kuhse (freshman) was 206th in 23:16.1 and classmate Hayley Hall was 207th in 23:17.3.
Mendon junior Charlie Newburry turned in a 19th-place time of 17:08.4 to top the local list. Breckenridge sophomore Mason Sumner was the top finisher overall in 16:07.5. With 72 points and two top-10 placers, Breckenridge won the team championship. Mendon was 16th with a score of 409, and Kalamazoo Christian took 17th with 414.
Cassopolis sophomore Cole Millirans claimed 25th with a time of 17:14.9 and Kalamazoo Christian sophomore Isaac Bos was 35th in 17:29.6.
For Kalamazoo Heritage Christian, senior Logan Schanz was 42nd overall in 17:37.6, Kalamazoo Christian’s Isaac Bogard (freshman) placed 52nd in 17:46.1, Mendon’s Dakota Ames (senior) took 74th (18:02.9), followed by junior teammate Colin Steinberger (18:03.2), and Kalamazoo Christian junior Sam Offringa was 131stoverall in 18:38.5.
The Rangers also got a 133rd-place effort from junior Robert Ward (18:40.2), junior Nathan Koetje was 137th in 18:42.2 for K-Christian, and Hackett senior Michael Sirotti placed 141st in 18:43.9. Colon freshman Tucker Lafler represented the Magi in 158th place with a time of 19:00, and Mendon freshman Chase Hostetler finished 181st in 19:17.4 and junior teammate Jacob Dudley was 225th in 20:24.7. Kalamazoo Christian senior Logan Holewa was 234th (20:48.2), followed by teammate Dawson Lute (freshman) in 20:55.4. Rounding out the day for the Hornets was junior Nathan Lux, who was 241st in 21:12.6. Kalamazoo Christian senior Ryan Triemstra finished 247th in 21:44.8.
Kalamazoo Christian freshman Aubrey Herder’s time of 20:47.6 was good for 33rd place to top the list of local competitors. She was followed closely by Cassopolis sophomore Lauren Anderson in 34th place (20:51.3). Bridgman’s score of 132 was enough for a team championship, while Kalamazoo Christian’s 174 earned the Comets third place.
The Comets’ had a 37th-place effort from freshman Hope Zichterman (20:58.3), while teammates Lily Offringa (sophomore) and Annika Sytsma (freshman) were 53rd and 54th with times of 21:22.5 and 21:24.1, respectively. Fellow Comet Maggie DeJong (freshman) placed 86th in 22:03.2 and teammate Kaylee Klaassen (senior) was 113th (22:25). Also for Kalamazoo Christian was sophomore Tara Townsend, who placed 136th in 22:48.6.
Marcellus senior Valerie Vidal clocked in at 22:59.3 for 148th and teammate Ellie Tone (junior) was 160th in 23:17.6. Fellow Wildcat Romane Friconneau (senior) placed 187th in 24:03.7, and teammates MacKenzie Bishop, a freshman who ran a 27:17.8, and Caylee Bishop, a freshman who finished in 27:19.4, placed 230thand 231st, respectively. Right behind them was Marcellus senior Carolina Mauri (27:34.6) in 232nd.