BROOKLYN — Pewamo-Westphalia senior Collin Farmer turned the lowest moment of his cross country career into motivation to be great.
In 2022, Farmer was running with the pack of runners who were battling for second place behind four-time MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 champion Hunter Jones of Benzie Central.
Everything unraveled for Farmer around the time runners began to enter the track area at Michigan International Speedway. He faded from sixth place at the two-mile mark to 26th place in the final standings. It was still good enough for all-state, but far from Farmer’s capability.
“I ended up dying at the end of the race last year,” he said. “I took ownership of why I died and really wanted to push myself in the offseason.”
All that work paid off with a first-place finish in Division 3 on Saturday at MIS.
Farmer crossed the line in 15:39.1 to finish his high school season with five consecutive victories.
He applied lessons from his 2022 disappointment to become an MHSAA champion.
“It’s a real a mental battle,” he said. “You’ve got to tell yourself, no, you’re not tired when you feel tired. I didn’t really have that capability last year. This year I learned how to do that.”
Reed City junior August Rohde was second in 15:51.9, and Hart freshman Robert Jazwinski was third in 15:54.0.
“I thought I had a shot at it,” Farmer said. “Jazwinski is a real worker, so he was the guy. If I have to beat someone, I have to beat him.”
The only disappointment for Farmer this time around was that his Pewamo-Westphalia team, which entered the meet ranked No. 2, finished in seventh place.
A Traverse City St. Francis team that has been building its way toward the top won the team championship with 113 points. St. Louis was second with 175.
St. Francis had finished in the top six each of the last four years, its best a runner-up performance last season.
The Gladiators have a chance to repeat, with only one senior among the seven runners who competed Saturday.
Junior Leo Swager was 12th, junior Owen Read 33rd, junior Lewis Walter 35th, senior Tucker Krumm 37th and junior Riley Pattinson 44th for St. Francis.
PHOTOS (Top) Pewamo-Westphalia’s Collin Farmer approaches the finish on the way to winning the Division 3 championship Saturday at MIS. (Middle) Traverse City St. Francis’ Leo Swager (1130) pushes with a pack as the top finisher for the team title winner. (Photos by Dave McCauley/RunMichigan.com.)