Here's a brief summary of today's regional XC meet.
Sterling McPherson and Josh Green finish 5th and 7th, while Alexis Smith finished 9th in the 15 team regional to qualify as individuals for the MHSAA D2 state finals to be held next Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mi. Both had outstanding races, moving up gradually through the field through the wet, sloppy, muddy, slippery, hilly course to place with "all-regional" status. All three have improved all season and their accomplishment today puts them in an elite group of runners next weekend. Alexis probably has the best shot at "all-state" status, with a season best of 19:11 and currently ranked right about 30th in the athletic.net rankings. I am so proud of Sterling and Josh's effort though too. Sterling played second fiddle to Charlend Howard and Nate Fischer last season but has developed into one of the best runners in the north this year on pure hard work and determination. He is not blessed with great running genes, but is blessed with something more important - the hard work gene. Josh had an unfortunate incident last season (broken arm) which prevented him from competing in our final meets but today he showed he IS one of the best in the north too. Alexis, only a sophomore, has really blossomed in her last few meets, going from 21's to 20's to lower 19's and defeating many top notch competitors in doing so. As a bonus, she returns for two more seasons of GHSXC.
I had high hopes both teams could qualify for the state finals. I'm bummed we didnt meet that goal, but I realize we gave our all. Our runners ran tough on a muddy, hilly course and put in an effort they can be proud of. We were ranked within a place or two of where we finished and I am always happy when I know we've put our hearts into the race and we did today. Often times disappointment and "losing" is a blessing in disguise, it makes us double our efforts for next year, it makes us work harder and do more, so that we assure ourselves of success next time around. That will be our goal for next year. Preparing for tough courses, running our butts off all summer, going on long runs on the weekends, and doing what needs to be done to achieve a place in the state finals next time.
Senior Lauren Pallas is the only girl we'll lose off our varsity for next year. She's been a welcome addition to our team, usually as 4th or 5th girl. Good work Lauren. On the boys side we lose Josh and Sterling but return a host of freshmen varsity runners who can help us immensely and Collin Monusko. The future is bright. For the girls we return 6 of 7 runners, a host of freshmen who can make a difference next year and most importantly, experience. 6 of our 7 runners are new to the team, they have no experience in meets like this. That may have been our biggest downfall today - experience. Next season we'll attend some BIG invitationals to gain the experience needed to make a step to the next level. Freshmen Jack Hervela and Zak Goddard gave the boys team more than I could have ever hoped for this season, finishing with season best times in the lower 17's. Very impressive. Justin Desloover and John Martin gained valuable varsity experience. Courtney Busch was a HUGE addition to our team as 2nd/3rd girl, bringing in a competitive streak that is always welcome. Grace Porta really came on at the end of the season, giving us a 4th girl who was always solid. Savannah Krone and Adrienne Edwards rounded out our varsity, and as freshmen gained valuable experience for next year. #2/3 runner Katelyn Smith struggled this season after a bad bout with MONO last spring. She has the ability to run with Alexis, but just needs time to fully recover from the mono situation. Still she was a valuable addition to the team, nearly earning all-conference honors this year and she will be back to her full strength next year.