From the Petoskey News-Review
East Jordan XC teams both earn top 10 finishes; St. Michael boys place fifth
Drew Kochanny email@example.com
BROOKLYN — For a couple small programs in the tiny northern Michigan corner of the state, the East Jordan and Petoskey St. Michael boys cross country teams more than hold their own at the state level.
They showed it throughout the 2019 season, and on Saturday at the Division 4 state finals in Brooklyn, showed it once again.
East Jordan’s boys earned a third place overall finish at states, while St. Michael followed just behind with a fifth place finish.
Along with the boys teams, East Jordan’s girls also came through with a top 10 finish, placing ninth overall in the girls race.
“All the athletes competed very bravely in tough, muddy conditions and have nothing to hang their heads about,” East Jordan coach Matt Peterson said. “Two top ten team finishes is something to be proud of. These kids represented themselves, the coaches, and the community of East Jordan in a quality manner all year long.”
Breckenridge earned the overall boys title with an impressive average time of 17 minutes even, while Unionville-Sebewaing placed second and Carson City-Crystal snuck in just ahead of St. Michael in fifth.
East Jordan’s Ethan Nachazel turned in an All-State season with a top 30 finish in 24th overall, running a time of 17:14.4. It came as Nachazel’s second All-State nod of his career.
Aaron Nachazel came in 34th in 17:28.2, Alex Schlueter placed 36th in 17:30.6, Ben Hardy placed 45th in 17:40.0 and Phillip Nemecek took 107th in 18:25.7.
Caleb Ziebarth also took 139th in 18:43.5 and Alan Peters took 168th in 19:08.8.
For St. Michael, Sam Paga just missed out on an All-State season with a 31st place finish overall, coming in at 17:26.7.
Macartan Moore took 41st for St. Michael in 17:35.4, Adam Paga placed 49th in 17:44.1 and was followed by Hammond Law, 56th, 17:53.3; John-Michael Kargol, 129th, 18:38.2; Benjamin Brooks, 175th, 19:11.5; and William Gagnon, 176th, 19:12.2.
“It’s hard to express how proud we are of our guys,” St. Michael coach Larry Rudnicki said. “For a second-year program at a school our size to cap off a groundbreaking season with a top five finish at the state finals is an incredible accomplishment, a testament to the maturity, dedication and leadership of the team.
“The guys have poured the foundation for a top-tier running program at St. Michael, leading the way for our entire athletic department.”
Ellsworth’s Caleb Godwin also placed 76th in 18:04.2 and teammate Robbie Wise took 43rd in 17:38.2, Boyne Falls’ Tyler Gellis placed 101st in 18:20.4 and Mackinaw City’s Lars Huffman took 81st as a freshman in 18:06.6.
In the girls race, it was Bridgman earning a state title, followed by Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, Kalamazoo Christian, Hillsdale Academy and Hudson.
Along with East Jordan’s ninth place finish, Ellsworth’s girls placed 20th overall.
East Jordan’s Taylor Sheridan earned an All-State season with a place right on the cutoff, as she took 30th overall in 20:40.1.
Molly Kitson followed for EJ in 63rd in 21:37.5, Madelyn Diller placed 70th in 21:44.6, Emily Zmikly took 139th in 22:51.8 and was followed by Christine Whitaker, 165th, 23:22.9; Madilyn Cochran, 167th, 23:27.6; and Christian Kooistra, 170th, 23:34.4.
Ellsworth came led by freshman Mia Romeyn in 41st with a time of 21:06.5, along with Judy Veldboom in 71st in 21:45.3. Mackinaw City’s Gabi Bell also placed 154th in 23:07.1
Peterson will have to say goodbye to three seniors on his girls team and five on the boys side, including the top four placing finishers.
“The seniors on this team provided leadership all year long, and handled some adversity during the season with grace and courage,” added Peterson. “Coach Nachazel and I are honored to coach them.”
For St. Michael, Adam Paga, Kargol and Brooks will all graduate.