FHS boys and girls cross country teams on pace for great seasons
by Head Coach Mike Snyder
The Frankenmuth boys and girls’ cross country teams started their season strong as the girl’s team captured first place and the boy’s team finished sixth place at the 20-school Birch Run Invitational Meet on August 24. The girls finished 96 points ahead of second place Byron High School and the boys were just two points out of fifth place. Coach Fitch and I are very happy with the results and look forward to the rest of the season.
Most of our girls and boys finished with times that were one to four minutes faster than they ran last year at this same meet on the same course. There were many team members that ran over the summer in preparation for this season and that work ethic came through in today’s meet as they are ahead of their pace from last season.
Senior Hannah Loucks led the girl’s team finishing third overall with a time of 20:15 for the 5K course. Hannah was right at the line with second place as only .3 seconds separated the two. Hannah has been very dedicated and has goals of making it to the top of the Frankenmuth High School Cross Country record board this season, which we fully believe she will be there and then some. Jennifer Barber currently holds that top spot with a time of 18:52 set in 1990. Hannah is currently fifth on the record board with last season’s best effort of 19:44.
Following Hannah today were three first-year runners that really showed us what they are capable of this season. They all have a great work ethic in practice so it was not a surprise based on that, but a nice surprise based on being first year runners. Freshmen Gabbie Michael and Delaney Knoll finished eighth and ninth respectively with times of 21:57 and 22:06 followed by sophomore and first year runner Alyssa Abke in 17th with a time of 22:49. Other first year runners that we are glad to have on the team are juniors Halia Andrews, Sophia Wiggins and Abby Kiel. They had a taste of their very first cross country meet so they now have a benchmark to move forward and set personal records for themselves.
Returning as a sophomore is Samantha Rapson who placed 19th overall with a time of 22:54. Samantha is currently ninth on the record board as a freshman with a time of 20: 14. Samantha is looking to move several positions up on the record board this season and with her strong work ethic, we know she will do it. Junior Gabby Harris finished 20th with a time of 23:01 and is looking strong this season. We are excited to see what Gabby can do this year on healthy legs. To round off the current top seven on the team is junior Zoe Neirink who finished 22nd with a time of 23:15. Zoe is a strong runner and is ahead of her pace at this time last year.
We can already see the healthy competition within the team to make the top seven runners (Varsity races). Our goal is to have both teams always look at the positive and always be positive with their push to be the best that they can be. With 22 girls and 15 boys on each team, they know that only seven will be running the varsity races and everyone else will be running junior varsity races. With cross country, everyone races individually, but they also pull others along the way to help everyone on the team improve - from the top performer to the one working their way up. There is only room for positive support on the team. Being positive is key to being successful which is what we strive to bring to our kids – success will follow in the form of individual personal records and team success.
A few runners who ran times that are in the mix for the top seven even after the first meet include: Sophomore Tara Keller who finished 25th with a time of 23:21, junior Lulu Karney who finished 33rd with a time of 23:50, and senior Sarah Richmond who finished 29th with a time of 24:30. All of these girls are dedicated runners and it will be interesting to see how they support one another as they continue to improve. We also have three ladies that run together and have improved a great deal over last year: Juniors Adyson Bryce, Malerie Young and Nissia Bernard who showed that they have taken a big step in their competitive running and will be girls to watch this season. Other team members that work hard and are great supporters of the team include (in class order); sophomore Kallie Lindow, junior Mackenzie Miller and seniors Dana Williams, Kaitlyn Pierce, Abbey Kerkau and Olivia Schmitt.
We stress that everyone competes at different levels and each year is a new beginning. That is why cross country is such a great sport in terms of seeing improvement – it’s very objective based on the clock. Our entire team (both boys and girls) know this and have a great work ethic to improve individually which ultimately helps the team.
The boy’s team is the largest team Coach Fitch and I have had in the eight years we have been coaching. We have 15 boys on the team and they are already a step ahead from where they started last season. Leading the boy’s team with a fourth place finish was sophomore Wesley Beck with a time of 18:00 (only 16 seconds off his personal record) and has a goal of getting on the top-10 record board this season. The 10th place position is currently held by Kenny Martin (1998) and my son Cody Snyder (2003) with a time of 16:49. Coach Fitch and I have all the confidence in the world that Wesley will be on the board this season. Junior Scott Nedoff placed 30th with a time of 19:41 and was over two minutes faster than last year at this time. Scott is a focused runner and will be into the 18’s before too long. Sophomore Nicholas Hyslop finished 40th and already set a new personal record with a time of 20:02, which was almost four minutes faster than his time last year. He will continue to trim his time. Just like the ladies’ team, the boys have three first year runners that finished in the top seven on the team. Freshmen Harrison Loucks and Brendan Lenhard finished 46th and 53rd respectively with times of 20:20 and 20:31. First-time runner, senior Alex Pressler looks very strong as he finished 60th with a time of 20:46. All three of these runners will be in the 19 minute range very soon.
Rounding off the current top seven runners is junior Sam Piper who finished 66th with a time of 20:58 which is more than two minutes faster than his time last season. Sam came into the season looking strong and will continue to shave off time. Another nice problem to have, just like the ladies’ team, is having other runners that are very close and vying for one of the top seven spots on the team. Senior Sam Neirink had a time of 21:28, junior Michael Valone came through with a time of 21:45 and senior Anthony Harris finished with a 22:07. All three were in the top seven last year and as they support one another in practice and push for better times, it will be interesting to watch the entire team help one another get better through healthy internal competition. Freshman Lucas Major is making a mark as well with his first ever Varsity race time of 22:50. Senior Austin Notter is a hard worker in practice and was almost three minutes faster than last year with his finishing time of 23:42. Senior Eric Hayes did not run this race last year because of a broken collar bone, but came in with a time of 24:38 which we know he will continue to improve on. Finally, freshman Calvin Paten ran his first ever varsity race and clocked a time of 39:06. Calvin is excited about running and we know he will trim time off as he continues to compete.
Coach Fitch and I are looking forward to a strong season from both the boys and the girls. It will be a bit more challenging this year as we moved from Division 3 to Division 2 where there are many larger schools that we will be competing against. We have great kids on both teams and that is what will help make this season special.