By Ben Murphy
For the Lady Pioneers it was the third in a row. For the boys it was the first time in a long time. For the Clare varsity cross country teams, Saturday was a dominating day as both squads won division three regional titles at Delta College.
“We are excited to run at the state finals on Saturday and are hoping that we have saved all of our best races for last,” Clare girls’ head coach said of his squads’ third straight regional title.
Clare won the 17 team region with 23 points, with second place Freeland getting 78.
Freshman Jasmine Harper won the race with a time of 18:47, Victoria Harper was second at 20:01 and Holly Pummell was fifth at 20:50, giving all three first-team all-regional honors.
Hannah Brown was 10th at 21:18, Lindsay Winter, in her second race back this season took 11th at 21:24 and Robyn Stanley was 14th at 21:55, giving the three second-team honors. Madison McPhee ran well also, coming in 19th place with a time of 23:22.
“This was such a special day because the Harper sisters were able to finish first and second overall,” McKown said. “Also, the boys team was able to win the regional title as well.”
The boys won their first regional championship since 1987, totaling 30 points while second place Bullock Creek had 46.
“A fun day despite the worst weather of the season,” Clare boy’s head coach Adam Burhans said. “Have never run more efficiently as a group. The kids just went out and believed in each other in some of the worst weather ever. For them to run the times they did is just a testament to their drive. We’re really hoping for a top-five finish (at states), maybe higher. It’s so tough this year. We are a mirror image of about 10 teams, so it’s going to be fun to see what shakes out.”
The Clare boys were led by Hunter Nivison taking third place with a time of 16:26, Kyler Phillips was fourth at 16:51, Kevin Spicer-Torres was fifth at 17:01, Ben Haupt was eighth at 17:16, Chase Field was 10th at 17:24, Nick Wertheimer was 26th at 18:24 and Brock Demo was 58th at 19:49. Nivison, Phillips, Spicer-Phillips all won first-team honors while Haupt and Field both won second-team.
The Farwell girls didn’t have enough runners to field a team score but did get sophomore Contessa Hammond to qualify for the state meet with a seventh place finish and time of 21:09. Lorena Gomm was 65th at 26:59 and Clarissa Hammond was 82nd at 31:04 to round out finishers for the Lady Eagles.
The Farwell boys took seventh as a team and had freshman Daylen Garver lead the way with a 19th place finish and time of 18:10. Marty Fedewa was 36th at 18:43, Kurt Meister was 38th at 18:51, Damien Brown was 63rd at 19:58, Garrett McQuiston was 64th at 20:01, Trevor Frost placed 90th at 22:31 and Stephen Conroy was 103rd at 27:16.
Harrison had its girls’ team place eighth as a team and was led by Raylene Ramirez with a 40th place finish and time of 23:54, Stephanie Prince was 42nd at 24:04, Brandi Miller was 72nd at 28:04, Christine Mason was 80th at 30:31, Andrea Feliz Calvo placed 81st at 30:51 and Hannah Sharp was 84th at 37:19.
“On the girls side, we had some decent individual performances, considering the rain and wind,” Harrison head coach Tod Reeve said. “Prince ran her second fastest time ever in her last race, so I was quite happy with her performance. Ramirez gained some valuable experience that will definitely help her next year. With the other girls IW as simply happy that they could finish out the season in good form.”
The Harrison boys finished 11th, with senior Dalton Macdormott leading the Hornets with a 17th place finish and time of 18:02. Lukas Oesterreiech was 45th at 19:17, Reed Romanowski was 57th at 19:48, Kyle Eichhorn was 74th at 20:42, Andrew Cargill was 82nd at 21:36, Noah Cesal was 83rd at 21:40 and Alan Poole was 88th at 22:53.
“For the boys, MacDormott just missed qualifying for the state finals,” Reeve said. “Oesterriech really stepped up, running his fastest time ever and Romanowski broke 20 minutes. One thing our team realized was that they need to put in the mileage next summer if they want to be more competitive and meet our goal of reaching state finals as a team in 2014.
Saturday’s state finals are at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.