Clare runners expected to repeat as JPC champs

Though the high school cross country season is quickly winding down, there is still plenty left at  for the area cross country teams.

The Clare boy’s team has won the last four Jack Pine Conference championships, and after two dominating wins in the first two jamborees appear to be on their way to a fifth, with just Wednesday’s jamboree at Gladwin remaining.

“The boys are working hard and are very confident,” Clare boy’s head coach Adam Burhans said. “They train for tradition and each other. There is no room for Prima donnas on this team and it shows in the total team effort. It feels good to have everyone on the same page.”

The Pioneers, who took second in last year’s regional meet and placed sixth in the 2011 Division 3 state finals have stormed through the first two jamborees, with just two members back from that team.

Hunter Nivison and Kevin Spicer-Torres return from last year’s state qualify team that finished sixth overall, with Nivison coming in 58th  (17:22) and Spicer-Torres coming in 112th (18:05).

Throw in Lucas Combs, Kyler Phillips, Chase Field and Riley Crawford, who have all run times under 20 minutes and the Pioneers could have a good chance making a return trip to the state finals.

“It has been an honor to coach a group of kids who constantly believe in each other and the goals I’ve set out for them,” Burhans said. “There is no animosity. No second-guessing.  This hasn’t happened in a while and it’s refreshing to see that these kids have a shared goal of being there for each other, the junior high kids, and the overall vision of the program. With that said, they are very focused to finishing up the conference with honor and qualifying as a team for the state meet. I’m proud of them all.”

Similarly, the Clare girl’s team has won both JPC jamborees as well and are seeking their third straight league championship.

In the second jamboree the Clare girl’s team had nine girls finish in the top 13.

“The girls are making progress and moving closer to where we are hoping to be at by the end of the season,” Clare girl’s head coach Kyle McKown said. “Nearly all girls ran personal bests (at the second jamboree). We’ll continue to work hard to get closer to our goals but (the jamboree) was definitely a step in the right direction and gave many girls the confidence that they will need to move forward and work even harder.”

The Lady Pioneers won last year’s regional meet and took ninth in the state finals. Back from that team are Lindsay Winter (37th overall, 20:04), Sadie Phillips (39th 20:05), Victoria Harper (43rd 20:08), Robyn Stanley (119th 21:38), Melissa Benchley (136th 22:10) and Olivia Walworth (138th 22:15).

Those six, along with Paige Gould, Brooke Beatty and Amanda Yats finished in the top 13 in the most recent JPC meet.

“Our goal is to continue to work hard and drop time as we approach regionals,” McKown said. “We are hoping for a big late season surge that will propel us to finish strong at the state finals.”

Clare isn’t the only school in the county that has runners hoping to cash in on solid ends to the season.

Harrison senior Brooke Colville is on pace to claim first team all-conference honors with a pair of third place finishes in the first two league jamborees. Colville’s time of 20:52 at the second jamboree places her with the second fastest time in school history, and if she can run a similar time at the regional meet later this month could qualify for her first state finals.

Farwell’s boy’s team, despite coming up short in both JPC jamborees is having a strong season as well, with several athletes running quality times. Brandon Frank, Luke Schultz and Joe Bowen all placed in the top 10 in the second league jamboree, all running near state qualifying times.

With a six place finish in the second jamboree, Farwell’s top girl runner Contessa Hammond could win first-team all-conference honors as well.

Key meets coming up: Jack Pine Conference Jamboree at Gladwin on Oct. 17, Regionals at Delta College on Oct. 27, state finals on Nov. 3 at Michigan International Speedway.

Recent boy’s results:

Portage Invitational Saturday Oct. 6

Clare (9th of 38 teams) – Hunter Nivison (10th 16:27), Lucas Combs (44th 17:17), Kyler Phillips (47th 17:20), Kevin Spicer-Torres (64th 17:30), Chase Field (168th 19:01) and Riley Crawford (196th 19:41).

Jack Pine Conference jamboree no. 2 Oct. 10 at Mid-Michigan Community College

Clare – Nivison (1st 16:39), Combs (3rd 17:15), Phillips (4th 17:22), Spicer-Torres (6th 17:31), Crawford (15th 18:43), Field (17th 19:04), Nick Wertheimer (34th 20:48) and MikeWertheimer (36th 21:21).

Farwell – Brandon Frank (2nd 17:14), Luke Schultz (5th 17:28), Joe Bowen (10th 18:07), Trevor Staley (14th 18:35), Kurt Meister (18th 19:04), Glenn McDaniel (21 19:40), Cameron Disbrow (29th 20:26), Garrett McQuistion (31st 20:27) and Brendon Buccilli (40th 21:16).

Harrison – Brenden Taylor (7th 17:33), Dalton Macdormott (11th 18:12), Phillip Hale (22nd 19:41), Nairobi Thomas (23rd 19:47), Morgan Brock (37th 21:03), Kyle Eichorn (42nd 21:19), Ruben Saenz (44th 21:28), Noah Cesal (46th 21:42), Ray Chenowith (61st 26:17) and Alan Poole (62nd 26:25).

Recent girl’s results:

Portage Invitational Saturday Oct. 6

Clare (6th of 38 teams) – Victoria Harper (22nd 19:40), Lindsay Winter (27th  19:46),  Robyn Stanley (55th 20:54), Sadie Phillips (57th 20:57), Madison McPhee (93rd 21:48), Brooke Beatty (129th 22:39) and  Paige Gould (131st 22:40.

JV race: Amanda Yats (38th 23:03), Olivia Walworth (46th 23:24), Rocio Spicer-Torres (70th 24:23), Sam Warner (74th 24:30 and Angelica Krueger (77th 24:39). 

Jack Pine Conference jamboree no. 2 Oct. 10 at MMCC

Clare – Harper (1st 19:50), Winter (2nd 20:08), Stanley (4th 21:17), Benchley (5th 21:39), Phillips (7th 21:44), McPhee (9th 22:13), Gould (10th 22:25), Beatty (12th 22:54) Yats (13th 22:55), Walworth (20th 24:20), Spicer-Torres (25th 24:47), Warner (26th 24:51), Sheredy (30th 25:33) and Krueger (36th 26:23).

Harrison – Colville (3rd 20:52), Raylene Ramirez (16th 23:08), Kayla McKenna (17th 23:42), Rae Bundoff (19th 24:07) and Stephanie Prince (32nd 25:59).

Farwell – Contessa Hammond (6th 21:40), Julie Swinehart (27th 25:13), Meagan Williams (41st 27:04), Randa Schultz (57th 30:43) and Meagan Emmendorfer (60th 34:08).