The final goal for the Clare boys’ cross country team at the State finals was to eclipse the top 10 this
past Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
They did just that and more.
The Pioneers saved their best for last and landed a very close 6th place, finishing only one point
behind 5th place Chesaning, and six points behind Benzie Central. In cross country, this scoring
gap is literally only a few steps or seconds.
“This was our top finish in 16 years, and potentially our top finish in 30 years if a few steps
or seconds had come our way. I’m just ecstatic with how well we did with a good runner down
(Lucas Combs) and a kid literally falling in the race, getting stepped on, getting up and finishing.
It shows a lot about our guts, depth, and willingness to finish as a team.”
Jonathan Harper ran the race of his life to clip the top 30 and claim All-State honors with his
24th place showing. His time of 16:29.7 was one of the fastest state finals times ever by a Clare runner.
Tanner Vida followed in 17:07; Brandon Frank finished next in a career PR time of 17:19; Hunter
Nivison, who fell during the race, finished in a tough 17:22; and Jake McFadden finished 5th for the
team in 17:41. Kam Hawley took 6th for the team in 17:52, and Kevin Spicer-Torres completed
the top 7 with a time of 18:05, a career PR and one of the top freshman times in the state.
“These guys were symbols of athleticism, depth, and scholarship all year long,” continued
Burhans. “Perhaps the biggest prize we took this season was our Team Academic All-State nod.
It was really nice to be recognized this way as well.”
Though the Pioneers graduate some solid seniors, there are powerful underclassmen
willing to take the reigns and make next year another great year.
“We still have unfinished business,” said Burhans. “They are already talking about
track and next cross season. It’s hard to hold back a constant desire to win, but they’ll rest
a little. . . and get right back into it. I’m proud of them all.”