FHS Cross Country
JOSH FITCH . . . competes at the Birch Run Invitational last Saturday. The Eagles took ninth place at the invite. (Photo courtesy/Kriss Olgren)
Lady Eagle harriers 2nd at Birch Run Invitational, Eagles finish 9th
The Frankenmuth varsity cross country teams competed in the Birch Run Cross Country Invitational last Saturday, with the girls taking second place and the boys ninth place in the 12-school field.
The Lady Eagles had 62 points, with Cadillac claiming the top spot with 36 points. The host Panthers were third with 79 points, followed by Nouvel Catholic Central (120 points) and Clio rounded out the top five with 159 points.
“We were looking to do better against Birch Run by getting out faster and not dropping off so we could stay with their top five runners. Coach (Fred) Fitch and I are proud of the entire team as six girls set personal records while three others set season best times,” FHS Coach Mike Snyder said.
Emily Sievert was the first Lady Eagles to cross the finish line, taking third place overall with a 20:18. Her personal best time moved her to a tie for seventh place on the FHS record board.
Carly Hammond finished .3 back of Sievert, also with a 20:18 time.
“Carly and Emily want to do their best which means beating one another in a race,” Snyder said. “It is a great inter-squad rivalry and it keeps both runners sharp.”
Freshman Mackenzie Walter finished 13th place with a 21:47, one second off her personal best time.
“Mackenzie is someone that I believe had a good chance to reach the top 10 record board this season. She has been making great improvements this season and with our speed training starting this week, she will only get faster,” Snyder pointed out.
Freshman Elisabeth Barrett ran a personal best 21:54 for 20th place.
“Elisabeth shadowed Mackenzie and it paid off as she shaved off almost one minute from her previous best time,” Snyder said.
Junior Maria Martuch was injured over the summer and could not run until the start of the season. Still, her conditioning is kicking in and she took 27th place with a season-best clocking of 22:11.
“Maria ran a great race and placed in front of the Birch Run girls who beat her at the last race we met them,” Snyder stated.
Seniors and first-year harriers Lauren Peterson and Abbey Murlick finished 36th and 37th, respectively, with times of 23:06 (personal record) and 23:12.
“Lauren and Abbey have been going back and forth and help push one another in practices and races. Both first-time runners have really stepped up and been consistently running in the top seven. It is great to see their dedication to cross country and involvement with the rest of the team,” the coach said.
Rounding out the girls’ team were Melissa Olgren in 39th place (23:16), Abi Samson in 45th place (no time given), Bekah Barger in 46th place (23:47), Kylie Ostrofsky in 47th place (23:47), Kirsti Biddle in 50th place (23:56), Ashley Geiger in 53rd place (24:04), Jenna Matzke in 56th place (24:25), Abbie Wiles in 67th place (25:03), Kayla Knoll in 68th place (25:05), Kierstein Meyerhuber in 77th place (25:40) and Rachel Williams with a 26:17.
“The boys finished with four personal records and a season best performance. Even though they finished ninth overall, they had some very good performances,” Snyder said.
Senior Jake Hall led the Eagles with a fourth place finish at 16:56, his second best time of the season.
“It is great to see Jake finish under the 17 minute mark because this is helping his confidence that he is where he needs to be at this point in the season,” Snyder stated. “Jake is looking forward to the Portage meet this Saturday and I believe he will set another personal record by a good margin.”
Josh Fitch is close to the 18 minute mark, clocking a 19:00 for 36th place.
“I know Josh has it in him and I believe he will be in the 18-minute range at Portage,” the coach said.
Freshman Shane Gutkowski set his seventh personal record of the season, taking 43rd place at 19:35.
“With Shane’s confidence and dedication, I really think Shane will be in the 18 minute range before the season is out.
Junior Andrew Palmreuter ran a season-best 19:45 and sophomore Jeremy Wilson had a personal best of 20:34.
Senior Bobby Steele had a great race finishing with a personal best time of 22:48, almost a minute faster than his previous mark.
Bobby, a sight-impaired runner, was assisted the first two miles by Randy Wiles and the last 1.1 miles by Jeff Frahm.
“The guides are great and very much appreciated. They need to be in better shape than Bobby so they can keep his pace and keep him moving forward,” Snyder commented.
Freshman Ethan Holland ran his second best time of the year at 29:20.
In the middle school race, Rittmueller Middle School harrier Isaak Biddle took fourth place on the 1.75 mile course at 11:09.
Both cross country teams will be traveling to the Portage Invitational on Saturday, October 6, followed by the North Branch Invitational on Tuesday, October 9. The Reese Invitational is set for Saturday, October 13.