Saline’s top seven cross country athletes traveled to Bath to compete in the Brett Clements Invite this weekend, while the 85+ other athletes headed to Lake Erie to compete in the Warrior Invite hosted by Brownstown-Woodhaven High School. Both squads finished in second place, with the varsity team finishing behind Rockford and the reserve squad just missing a victory over twelve other varsity teams.
All of Saline’s runners had great performances at Bath, with six posting PR times. Andrew Kitto led the way, finishing fourth overall after running with the lead pack for much of the race. His finishing time of 16:24 was a 23 second PR; That’s a nice birthday gift. When combined with his PR from his last race, the senior co-captain has already improved by 34 seconds this season. Grant Praschan used an impressive last 1000 meters to finish nine seconds shy of his PR, giving the co-captain clear indication that his summer training was well worth it. Saline’s third finisher in the top ten of the race and third co-captain was Dylan Jennings. His time of 16:36 is 14 seconds better than he ran on the same course last year. The remaining four Saline finishers were all new to the Varsity squad and handled the pressure very well, with John Dolsen, Pat Dunn, Mitchell Tolly, and Kevin Hall all running PR’s.
Finishing second is never as exciting as winning, but the runners accomplished what they had set out to do for the day and the finish times show that the team has placed itself on a great trajectory for the state finals.
In the southeastern part of the state, Saline’s reserve runners lined up against the varsity squads from other schools. No Saline runners finished in the top ten, but all of our scorers slid inbetween 10th and 20th places, with Sean Dew leading the team in eleventh, Kaj Althaus a close twelfth, and Matt Elms finishing thirteenth. Brennan Corcoran and Collin Burnett scored their first points for Saline in a varsity 5k, giving the sophomores an early reward for their summers of very hard work. The team standings put Saline just four points behind first place.
In the reserve race at Warrior, our runners took the top thirty-two spots with Matt Wilson taking the overall win in dominating fashion. Alex Hunter was a surprise runner-up finish in that race, and Sam Cayen took third in 18:29. At this same race in 2011, Wilson finished twentieth in the race, Hunter barely broke 20:00, and Cayen was more than 3:00 slower. Nice work!
Following Saturday’s outstanding performances, the team turns its focus to Tuesday and Jamboree #1. Winning there will be the first step in taking the conference championship. The varsity race will feature three teams that could finish in the top ten of the state finals.
In 2011, Saline’s runners took the first 15 spots in the reserve race at Jamboree #1.