Girls team impresses, finishes 10th
Six sophomores and a freshman made up the Packer boys team that ran to a second place finish at the State Championships. Chelsea who graduated three runners from last year’s state championship squad took the title again with three Bulldogs finishing in the top 15. The Pack was led by sophomore Nathan Walker who finished 5th overall and earned all-state honors. His teammate and classmate Ben Paige was also named all state finishing 25th.
From Coach Clifton Somers:
Both teams capped off a great season in style at the State Finals. The boys finished as State Runner-Up while the girls finished 10th.
The weather was good, but the course was in pretty bad shape. The boys got out to a good looking start. Nathan Walker (So) was in about 10th at the mile, with Ben Paige (So), Conor Somers (Fr), and Adam Ward (So) between 35th and 45th. Colton Best (So) and Josh Zerfas (So) were in the 70s, with Nathan Johnson (So) around 200th. We were in 1st at the mile. Nathan W., a savvy racer, started to slowly pick his way his way through the top ten with Ben also starting to move up. Conor and Adam were holding steady, while Colton was moving up well. Rounding the 2 mile the team was still in 1st and Nathan was still moving up. He was having to really work through the gaps to get from one athlete to another. Ben was battling around 30th, the last All-State position. Adam was still holding steady while Conor was starting to fade. Colton was moving up like crazy, catching Conor then Adam just as they entered the last ¾ of a mile. Josh was fading a little while Nathan J. was moving up. Nathan ran a strong home stretch to finish 5th as the top sophomore in D2. Ben had a great last 120 to move up to 25th. Colton continued his charge to finish 34th. Adam faded a little the last 400 to finish in 61st with Conor in 60th. Josh was 126th and Nathan J. 173rd. We had hope to be moving up as the team the last ¾ of a mile, but Chelsea made their move there while we had a few runners fade there. Chelsea won with 121 to our 134. Spring Lake finished 3rd with 199.
The girls, in their first trip to the state finals since 2013 ran great. We were way back at the mile mark and probably got out just a little to conservatively, not a lot but just a little. The girls showed their self confidence to stay focused and start moving up. Hannah Hamilton (Sr) was in 60th at the mile with the rest of the team in the 100s or above. Hannah really moved up into 40th by the 2 mile. Sammy Schmidt (Sr), and Kendra Fowler (Sr) were moving steadily between the 1 and 2 miles. Leah Converse (So) and Claire Whittle (Sr) were moving up also. Erin Norton (So) and Katie Nicholas (Sr) were holding their positions steady. In the final mile Hannah worked her way up to 34th, but the gaps were a little to big for her to bridge up to the to 30. Sammy really charged the last mile to move up to 57th, Kendra moved up to 89th. Leah finished in 112th, with Claire 143rd, Erin 181st, and Katie 203rd. The girls scored 290 to finish 10th.
I am so proud of how far both these teams have come over the course of this season. We knew that both teams had potential, but it took a little time to develop. The athletes stayed patient, kept believing and just kept improving every week. To have both teams keep improving all through the season is pretty special.
We have some good young athletes coming back next year, but it is going to be tough saying goodbye to the seniors.
Coach Hamilton and I would like to thank all of the parents and administration for their support this season. We also would like to thank all you alumni and supporters out there helping us carry on the tradition.
Photos By Sarah Besonen Johnson