Mora Caps Career with D2 Title

November 3, 2012

By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half

BROOKLYN — When it was time to make a move, Connor Mora had no idea how it would play out.

All he knew was he wanted to finish his last high school cross country race with no regrets.

The Cedar Springs senior passed Mason’s Tanner Hinkle with three-quarters of a mile to go and kept surging toward the finish line, winning the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 championship with a time of 15:04.2 on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Hinkle, who ran a stride ahead of Mora most of the race, finished second in 15:09.8.

“He’s a great competitor,” Mora said of Hinkle. “There wasn’t a point where I felt I had him until I finished the race. I guess I gave it all I had. If he had a better day than me, then that’s what it was, but I gave it all I can.”

Hinkle set a fast early pace, reaching the mile in 4:48. Mora was content to let Hinkle do the work for at least the first two miles.

“I went in ready to adjust my strategy with whatever the race threw at me,” Mora said. “When Hinkle took it out hard, I decided to just sit back and wait until the two mile to see where he would take it. He had me up until the two mile. That’s the point where I felt confident enough to go to the finish.”

Mora didn’t feel he performed well in past MHSAA Finals, though four top-15 finishes is a rare accomplishment in the larger-school divisions. He was 15th in 2009 (16:23.4), fifth in 2010 (15:39.0) and third in 2011 (15:33.2). Hinkle was one place behind him last year in 15:41.3.

Mora’s time was the fastest of the day in all four divisions. Erie Mason’s Nick Raymond won Division 3 in 15:05.1, while Milford’s Brian Kettle won Division 1 in 15:07.3.

“I haven’t always had great state meets these past years,” Mora said. “I guess I just usually have an average race.”

St. Clair edged Linden by a 114-128 margin for the team championship. Linden had three all-state runners (top 30 overall), but St. Clair had its five scoring runners in the top 47, while Linden’s fifth runner didn’t cross until 93rd place.

It was the first team title for the Saints, who had six top-10 finishes in the previous 12 years.

Senior Brennan Shafer led St. Clair, placing seventh among team runners in 15:39.6. Junior Cody Smith was 10th in 15:51.4, junior Trevor Holowaty 28th in 16:09.3, senior Dakota Hazel 34th in 16:17.9 and senior Andrew Snider 35th in 16:18.6.

Click for full results.

PHOTO: Mason's Tanner Hinkle (right) and Cedar Springs' Connor Mora ran together most of the Division 2 Final before Mora pushed ahead for his first championship. (Click to see more from

Freeland's Hansen Smashes Longstanding Record, FHE Claims 1st Finals Victory

November 4, 2023

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.

Until Saturday.

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.

Henry Dixon sets the pace for Forest Hills Eastern's first team championship.“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.

Click for full results.

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/