Fremont Harriers Taylor Mater, Nathan Walker, Conor Somers, Adam Ward and Ben Paige came home from Brooklyn with All-State honors Saturday.
From Coach Somers:
Taylor Mater (So) was representing the “Pack” as our sole qualifier in the girls race. Tayor missed all of last season with injury and the middle 1/3 of this season. Because of this she had not yet raced in a field as large and competitive as the state finals. (MSU, Portage) Despite lacking big meet experience she went out and raced like a champ. She had a decent start, running just outside the top 30 at the mile mark. The top 30 finishers are all-state. In the 2nd mile Taylor moved up through the crowd into 23rd by the 2 mile. She was showing signs of stress as she headed back to the infield for the last ¾ of a mile. From a distance I could see Taylor struggling as she faded to about 26th with 800 to go. Getting a little close to losing that all-state spot. But she never gave up, kept fighting and was able to recover with a strong finish over the last 400 to move up to 22nd at the finish to earn her all-state award. Taylor is our first girls all-stater since 2011. She did a great job of cross-training and believing she would recover during the time that she missed in the middle of the season.
The boys came in to the race heavily favored and they delivered. This is still a young group and they handled the pressure well. They do a good job staying pretty loose until it is time to perform. The boys seized control of the race by the ¾ mile mark and never let go, finishing with 68 points to 2nd place (Otsego) 176.
Nathan Walker (Jr), one of the individual favorites led the way going right to the lead pack. Conor Somers (So) was at the front of a small chase pack at the mile. At the mile Josh Zerfas (Jr), Ben Paige (Jr), and Adam Ward (Jr) were grouped up at the front of the main field. Mikko Vesma (Sr) and Colton Best (Jr) were well back in the field at the mile mark. In the second mile Nathan took the lead and pushed the pace to thin out the lead group of 5 while Conor and another athlete broke free of the chase pack. Josh, Ben were holding position while Adam was starting to move. Mikko started to improve his position a little over the 2nd mile while Colton was holding steady. Over the last mile the lead pack splintered as Evan Bishop of East Grand Rapids set a fantastic tempo. Nathan held on to 3rd until the last 50 meters where he was nipped at the line to finish 4th. Conor continued his one on one battle for 6th and 7th, until they were caught from behind with about 1000 to go making it a 3 way battle. He couldn’t quite hang on and finished a solid 8th. The last mile saw Adam continue to run strong and moving up and fighting off some strong finishers to finish 18th. Ben faded the first 400 of the last mile, recovered, started moving back up, lost a shoe with about 800 to go, and took off to have a great last 300 to finish 20th. Josh had a rough time the last mile, but fought all the way to finish 43rd. Mikko had a screaming last mile improving 30-40 places to finish 36th, missing all state honors by 6 places. Colton had a tough last mile also fighting home in 100th.