By Fremont Coach Cliff Somers
The boys won the meet in commanding fashion, 40 points, with 5 athletes placing in the top 15 to earn All-Region honors. The course is a double loop on a golf course. Our goal was to use the first lap to put ourselves in a good position to go on the attack the second lap. We knew we would have to run well to beat Cedar Springs, who won Regionals last year. Nathan Walker (Fr) went right to the lead at the gun with a runner from Grant and Cedar Springs sitting right on him. Ben Paige (So), Conor Somers (Fr), Adam Ward (So), and Josh Zerfas (So) packed up nicely together in around 20th at the 400 mark. Nathan led the first lap towing 2 athletes with him, but threw in a big surge at the start of the second lap to create a gap and then crack his two shadows. Nathan continued to build his lead throughout the whole second lap to win with a time of 15:34.
By the mile our pack of 4 had started to move up through the field. After the mile the pack started to break up slightly but they were still moving up. Nathan Johnson (So) was also having a great race moving through the field, while Colton Best (So) was having an off day. Last night we had talked about putting 4-5 in the top 15 in today’s race. The boys did a great job of stepping up to the challenge to put all 5 scorers in the All-Region placing.
1st Nathan Walker – 15:34 – Regional Champion
4th Conor Somers – 16:10 – All-Region
7th Ben Paige – 16:19 – All-Region
13th Adam Ward – 16:23 – All-Region
15th Josh Zerfas – 16:32 – All-Region
36th Nathan Johnson – 17:25
51st Colton Best – 17:50
The girls knew they would have to run well to qualify. We had 3 top 15 ranked teams and one honorable mention. With a solid group of seniors who had had their ups and downs over the last 4 years we were really hoping to put a good one together today. The girls had some confidence built on a strong last ¼ of the season. We knew if we started intelligently that we could finish strong. We talked about positioning on the first lap, but really focusing on being the hunters on the second lap. Late this season in race where we didn’t go out fast we really ran a strong second half, so we asked the girls trust their strength and ability to move up in miles 2 and 3. Well, they took us to heart as we only had one athlete, Hannah Hamilton (Sr) in the top half of the field at the 800 mark, and Hannah was in about 30th. Needless to say I was more than a little concerned that we may have been too conservative, but our seniors stayed cool, didn’t over react, and just started getting down to the business of eating up all the athletes who went out to fast. By the mile Hannah had moved into the top 20 while Kendra Fowler (Sr), Sammy Schmidt (Sr), and Leah Converse (So) had moved up into the high 30s. Claire Whittle (Sr) was also moving up well, but had not quite made the top 50 yet. Katie Nicholas (Sr) and Erin Norton (So) were also battling through the field. As a team we were probably in 6th place at the mile mark. The top 3 qualify for State. The girls would not be denied. They performed just as they had planned and continued to make huge gains through the field. By the 2 mile, Hannah had moved into about 10th, Sammy and Kendra into the top 25, with Leah and Claire in the 30s. The last mile saw the girls keep marching up the ladder to bring home a 2nd place finish with 76 points. This will be the girls first trip to the Finals as a team since 2012.
4th Hannah Hamilton – 19:04 – All-Region
12th Sammy Schmidt – 19:28 – All-Region
16th Kendra Fowler – 19:40
20th Leah Converse – 19:58
24th Claire Whittle – 20:12
47th Erin Norton – 21:21
51st Katie Nicholas – 21:26
Both teams will race in the D2 State Finals race next Saturday. Information can be found here - https://www.mhsaa.com/Sports/Boys-Cross-Country/2018-Finals