MARQUETTE — The Marquette boys grabbed four of the top seven places here Saturday, retaining their Upper Peninsula Division 1 cross country title with 38 points.
They were followed by Sault Ste. Marie with 47 and Houghton with 69.
“Running as a pack paid off for us again,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. “Our guys really came through. My biggest perspective was getting the meet in, and the fact we got it in is huge.”
Sault senior Jaron Wyma, who’s verbally committed to Saginaw Valley State, won the 3.1-mile race in 17 minutes, 19 seconds. Houghton junior Eric Weiss was runner-up at 17:32.5.
“Going into this race, I really didn’t know where I’d finish,” said Wyma. “This is a big surprise. I thought it would come down to the last few steps. The last 800 meters were tough. My legs were burning, although I felt good the whole race. I engaged my arms and used the hills to my advantage. I knew I could win it if I toughed it out mentally. I guess you could say I was on a mission. It feels great to win this meet.”
Sophomore Carson VanderSchaaf was Marquette’s pacesetter in third (17:40.8). He was followed by Escanaba senior Derek Douglas (17:46.9) and twin brother Colin VanderSchaaf (17:50).
“I kind of wanted to stay with the lead pack,” said Carson. “He (Wyma) pulled ahead at 1 1/2 miles and Eric from Houghton made his move at about two miles. I’m satisfied with how I ran and how the team did. Having a bunch of guys to run with in practice helps our training, and today it paid off.”
Douglas said he adjusted his strategy for Saturday’s Final.
“My strategy was to go out hard and take the lead and stay with the pack through the woods,” he added. “It was a little cold, but there wasn’t much wind. Although, the wind didn’t really bother me. It felt pretty good taking the lead, and I think it helped me. Although, once we got into the woods I changed things up. I always get a little tired in the second mile, but tend to pick it up in the third.
“This is a great way to end the season. This was my last high school race. I wanted to give it everything I had.”
Sault came into this meet with high hopes, according to coach Jim Martin.
“We ran well, and Jaron worked so hard,” he said. “We’re just glad we got to run today.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Sault Ste. Marie's Jaron Wyma heads to the finish line in first place in the Division 1 Cross Country Final at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. (Middle) Marquette's Lincoln Sager (41), Carson VanderSchaaf (42), Luke Janofski (37) and Colin VanderSchaaf (43) lead the way at the start of Saturday’s race. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)
BROOKLYN — On the same day Rockford’s Dathan Ritzenhein set a course record at Michigan International Speedway that has never been approached, Kurtis Marlowe of Richland Gull Lake had a performance that was overshadowed.
But Marlowe’s winning time of 15:02.5 in the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals in 2000 also stood the test of time.
Freeland junior TJ Hansen eclipsed the Division 2 record with his winning time of 14:52.8. Runner-up Solomon Kwartowitz of Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood also nearly broke the previous record, finishing in 15:03.3.
Even though it was apparent from earlier races Saturday that perfect conditions made fast times possible, Hansen didn’t set out to break Marlowe’s record.
“No, my goal was to go out and win,” he said. “Play strategy from the front, let others do the work, then just push it. Whatever time I got, I was gonna get. I knew it was going to take a time like that to win it today.
“I usually run close to a (personal record) every year at this meet. It’s one of my favorite courses. It’s definitely unique here at the speedway, so I really like the course, I really like to run it.”
Hansen went through the mile mark tied for 11th in 4:54.3, but you could’ve thrown a blanket over the top 12 runners at that point.
It was a three-man race between Hansen, Kwartowitz and 2022 champion Connell Alford of Chelsea when they reached the two-mile mark in 9:46.
Hansen made sure there would be no drama coming down the stretch.
“I was just trying to stay calm, let them do the work, just sit back,” he said. “When I needed to go, I was gonna go. My goal was to stay relaxed.”
Kwartowitz had no complaints with his race.
“It felt really smooth,” he said. “It was great. I didn’t get a chance to race these guys a bunch this year. I did at Spartan (Invitational, in September). I was really hoping to end it with a victory.”
The boys Division 2 team championship was a toss-up between four teams for the second year in a row, with Ada Forest Hills Eastern coming out on top with 134 points. Pinckney was second with 156, East Grand Rapids third with 175 and Allendale fourth with 176.
Last year, 32 points separated the top four teams.
Junior Henry Dixon led Forest Hills Eastern, placing sixth in 15:16.0. Senior Liam Hinman was 29th, senior Brendan Hoving was 30th, senior Cooper Jacobsen was 38th and junior Tyler Endres was 82nd.
It was the first MHSAA championship for Forest Hills Eastern, which had a program-best finish of fourth in 2007.
PHOTOS (Top) Freeland's TJ Hansen approaches the finish of his record run Saturday at MIS. (Middle) Henry Dixon sets the pace for Forest Hills Eastern's first team championship. (Photos by Dave McCauley/RunMichigan.com.)