Saturday, October 29, 2016

REGIONALS - what a day, what a season

Here he is - our state finals qualifier for the second year in a row.

Zak Goddard improves his best time and his best regional finish, placing 12th at the MHSAA D2 regional hosted by Gaylord at the Michaywe 5k course.  Zak is the epitome of what it means to be an XC runner trying to reach your potential.  He pounds out hundreds of summer miles, eats right, works hard and runs smart.  Over his fine four year career Zak has improved steadily from a solid varsity runner as a freshman, to a sophomore #1 runner on the team, all regional as a Junior, and now all-conference, all-regional, and off to the state finals for a second time as a senior.  Congratulations Zak!!  The Gaylord boys finished 11th in the 15 team field - which seems a bit disappointing at first glance.  But, #2 man Nick Green ran a solid 1801 for his second fastest 5k of the season as only a sophomore.  I look for Nick to be a real contender for All-Regional honors next year with continued summer running.  #3 man Jack Hervela ends a fine 4 year career with a season best time of 1805, besting his last week's 18:33.  Jack has been a solid varsity runner for us for four years and I am going to miss his humor, his hard practice work effort and his all-around positive attitude.  Congrats on a great 4 years Jack.  #4 man Ethan Huey did not have the day he hoped - I am not sure if he was not feeling well or what.  Ethan was a consistent #2 for us all season, often getting close to Zak and I know today Ethan wanted that top 15.  #5 man Justin Desloover caps off a fine 4 year career as a GHSXC harrier also.  As a freshman JD was on and off the varsity, but each year after he has been a solid varsity scorer for us.  I know JD wanted more out of his senior season, but I am confident his track season and our 4x800m relay team will be kind to him.  Andrew Quaal (sophomore) caps a fine year with a solid effort today, just missing his personal best time.  I believe the 17's are in the cards next season for Andrew.  He is a tireless worker putting in lots of good summer miles and these will pay off next season.  Kenny Smith earned varsity status at the NMXCC meet last weekend and today ended his junior season with his second best time of the year.  He returns for a senior year in 2017 and I hope he can bring that time down to the 17's.

Overall our boys finished 11th - a ways back from where we had hoped.  This season we beat Petoskey twice and they were 5th today.  This is a fine boys team of hard workers and good attitudes.  Sometimes we have to go beyond the finish score to really see if we've had a good season or not.  In my opinion we had a great season, a season I wouldn't trade for anything.  It started with a great team camp - one of our best ever and ends with Zak competing at the state finals next Saturday at MIS.

Full results here D2 REGIONAL RESULTS

On the girls side Brianna Martin finished as our #1 girl for the first time this season in a season best 20:21.  Bri ran almost an identical time last week and I had hoped she could improve up on that just a bit as that's what it would take to make the top 15 state finals qualifying all-regional team.  She came up just 22 seconds short.  Bri suffered a severe knee sprain back in August at our team camp, and was not able to run until the early October meet at Saginaw.  Given that she missed almost 8 weeks of training, it is amazing to see her running this fast.  She will return for the 2017 season as our #1 girl and I look forward to the next two years with her leading our team.  #2 today, but #1 all season was Carlie Martella.  Carlie leaves GHS with a solid legacy of 3 years as a varsity runner and All-Conference honors this year.  She was also an important part of our 2016 team which placed 7th in the state finals.  Her time today was not indicative of her season as it was the first time she was even over the 21 minute barrier.  At the 2 mile mark Carlie was in a solid 6th place, looking to move up even closer to the leaders, but her body did not respond to her desire for more.  She faded over the last 800m and finished well beyond her goal.  After the race Carlie, and her team, were very sad for her.  They know, and she knows, her true place was on that all-regional team.  I told her at the conclusion of the race that all her summer miles and all her preparation were not in vain - the reward will be this track season where, I believe, she has a true shot at the school 1600m record and bettering her own 800m record.  #3 today was senior Allison Kowatch.  Alli has been a mainstay of our varsity for two years now, solidly nailing down the #3 position and pacing the younger runners on the team.  Alli is a great role model, excellent student, and a true role model for the younger girls on the team.  I am going to miss Alli Kowatch.  #4 and 5 today were the twins - Mikayla and MacKenzie Massey.  These young ladies, both freshman, had a pretty good season.  In fact, they're running times that Carlie ran as a freshman.  They can really have an impact on our team IF they decide to focus on summer running and build their endurance.  I am looking forward to 3 more years of these gals!  Also a freshman, #6 today was Amanda Keysor.  Amanda has done a great job in a stressful position on the team.  Always positive, always hard working she has a great future on GHSXC.  Senior Adrienne Edwards rounded out our varsity today - as a four year runner Adrienne stepped on to our varsity for the first time this year, always working hard, always positive, and always being a good role model.  Adrienne is a true scholar/athlete and uses XC to improve her conditioning for basketball season - BUT, never uses that as an excuse to miss XC or not work hard.  When she is an XC runner, she give it her all, and that's something that really looks good to coaches and the team.  It's been a great four years Adrienne.

Overall, the girls finished 10th in the 15 team field, about where I thought we'd be.  We have a young team and I look forward to seeing our improvement in the next couple years.

Zak will be in the D2 MHSAA finals at MIS on Saturday November 5th.  Good luck Zak!

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