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Blue Water Area rundown of cross country State Finals

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

More than 2,000 high school runners crossed the finish line at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, Saturday afternoon, signifying the end of the MHSAA cross country season.

But the end didn’t come without a few exciting highlights from our Blue Water Area athletes and teams. Here’s a quick rundown of Saturday’s races:

Division 1

Out of 27 teams, the Port Huron Northern boys finished 15th, the highest finish of anyone in the area. The Huskies were led by senior Glen Davis, who placed 38th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 21.05 seconds.

“The last few years I think we finished 23rd and 25th, so to be 15th is pretty spectacular,” head coach Paul Nevado said. “To be in the top 20 I think is pretty cool.”

Nevado said that despite the sunny skies and nice temperature, Saturday’s gusty winds made it a challenge for the athletes to post their fastest times, however, the Huskies competed well.

“I think the weather was a huge factor. The first 600 or 700 meters was directly into a headwind…and in the last 1K or so down the home stretch you were coming into the wind, so that made it really hard to run fast times. But everyone had to run in it,” Nevado said. “I like that better. That’s what cross country is. It's not so much about the times, it’s who's going to compete the best.

“I think overall, we competed really well. We kept improving. I didn’t think we got out really well, but as the race proceeded, we did a good job of moving up and trying to get some places throughout the race.”

As it has been all season, Northern’s ability to run as a pack set the team apart. Junior Luke VanderHeuvel finished 96th in 16:51.47, junior Luke Maher was 121st with senior teammate Matt LaFreniere right behind in 124th (17:00.63 and 17:01.66, respectively), and senior Michael Paoletti rounded out the top five in 17:29.36 to take 180th.

Northern senior Reese Georgia running to the finish at the MAC cross country championship earlier this season.

On the girls side, senior Reese Georgia represented Northern as she crossed the finish line in 20:17.13 to take 152nd overall.

“As a four-year varsity runner for us, just to see the hard work that [she] put in to get to the end goal and give [herself] a shot to see what [she] can do, I thought she did awesome,” Nevado said. “She competed the entire race and just kept moving up.”

Division 2

The Blue Water Area was heavily represented in the Division 2 race, sending three boys teams, two girls teams, and several individuals to the Finals.

The St. Clair boys team captured 16th to lead the way, Yale took 20th, and Armada finished 26th. As an individual, senior Camden Khon highlighted the race as the first-ever runner in Armada High School history to earn all-state in cross country.

Armada senior Camden Khon leading during the 2022 Region 17 championship earlier this season.

Khon said at the beginning of the season his goals were to break the 16-minute barrier and place at the state meet. On Saturday, only the latter remained unchecked and he had to finish in the top 30 to accomplish it. He was more than proficient, placing 15th overall in 16:09.66.

St. Clair senior Carter Boullard led the Saints in 16:45.98 to take 51st, and Yale junior Blake Ferguson led his team in 73rd, clocking in a 16:57.54.

For the girls, Croswell-Lexington was 20th and St. Clair finished 25th.

“Our goal this season was to win the BWAC and the regional and make it back to states, so we really accomplished everything we wanted to,” Cros-Lex junior Abby Barkley said.

The Pioneers have qualified for the State Finals for the last three years, taking 26th in 2020 and 25th in 2021, making this year’s 20th-place finish a big milestone.

“The experience was so cool overall. It’s surreal almost. We just have a bunch of stuff to do as a team, we go to Olive Garden, we go to Cabelas, we spend the night together, it’s just so fun,” Barkley said. “We all definitely work off of each other…and we’re all so good about being each other’s best friends, so when we get to do these fun things and get these accomplishments together, it just means so much more.”

Barkley and the Pioneers were led by sophomore Eva Thompson, who also led the area, crossing the finish line in 19:39.27 to take 42nd overall. Armada sophomore Brooklyn Khon finished 61st in 19:59.28 and Cros-Lex junior Morgan Newton was 94th in 20:24.90. Senior Ava Pergitone led the Saints in 20:33.38.

Division 3

Despite being freshmen, Julian Walker and Jasmine Walker of Algonac highlighted the area performances in the boys and girls Division 3 races. Julian finished 175th in 18:34.65 and Jasmine was 159th in 22:16.67.

Almont senior Steven Butler, who qualified as an individual, finished his high school career with his best placement yet at 183rd in 18:41.36, and Algonac junior David Clemons was close behind in 189th with a time of 18:48.34.

Another lone representative from Almont was freshman Laila Evola, who finished 170th in the girls race at 22:32.77.

Results from area athletes:

Division 1 Boys:

38. Glen Davis (Sr., PHN) – 16:21.05

96. Luke VanderHeuvel (Jr., PHN) – 16:51.47

121. Luke Maher (Jr., PHN) – 17:00.63

124. Matt LaFreniere (Sr., PHN) – 17:01.66

180. Michael Paoletti (Sr., PHN) – 17:29.36

244. Brady Mayer (Jr., PHN) – 18:48.60

250. Grant Gonser (Jr., PHN) – 19:25.73

Division 1 Girls:

152. Therese Georgia (Sr., PHN) – 20:17.13

Division 2 Boys:

15. Camden Khon (Sr., ARM) – 16:09.66

51. Carter Boullard (Sr., SC) – 16:45.98

73. Blake Ferguson (Jr., YALE) – 16:57.54

80. Acer Campbell (Jr., YALE) – 17:02.09

81. David Harris (Sr., SC) – 17:03.84

131. Giovanni Pardo-Keegan (Jr., YALE) – 17:31.24

142. Peter Vitale (Sr., SC) – 17:37.76

143. Elliot Whitney (Jr., IC) – 17:39.42

157. Joe Edgemon (Sr., SC) – 17:44.14

165. Dylan Distelrath (Jr., SC) – 17:49.85

171. Vinny Schweihofer (Jr., SC) – 17:54.84

183. Lance Kowalski (Sr., MV) – 18:06.52

206. Alex Robertson (Jr., MC) – 18:24.54

211. Riley Andrews (Sr., ARM) – 18:29.74

212. Luke Nawrocki (Jr., ARM) – 18:30.28

214. Nolan Korolden (Fr., YALE) – 18:30.98

216. Korbyn Thornton (Soph., SC) – 18:32.91

218. Ted Rutkofske (Soph., YALE) – 18:35.46

226. Jack Nicol (Soph., YALE) – 18:43.55

239. Jack Zagaiski (Sr., ARM) – 19:21.28

240. Tyler Buckland (Jr., ARM) – 19:22.81

243. Wyatt Murtos (Soph., YALE) – 19:28.03

255. Aidan Lee (Sr., ARM) – 20:24.17

258. Anthony Alvarez (Fr., ARM) – 21:39.92

Division 2 Girls:

42. Eva Thompson (Soph., CL) – 19:39.27

61. Brooklyn Khon (Soph., ARM) – 19:59.28

94. Morgan Newton (Jr., CL) – 20:24.90

105. Ava Pergitone (Sr., SC) – 20:33.38

139. Lillian Rutallie (Soph., MV) – 20:56.59

147. Abagayle Barkley (Jr., CL) – 21:04.04

162. Casidhe Flesher (Jr., MC) – 21:20.10

172. Lilyana Bratt (Jr., SC) – 21:29.12

194. Brynn Hurley (Soph., CL) – 21:49.81

195. Allie Komarowski (Soph., SC) – 21:50.22

197. Karlie Schlaud (Sr., NB) – 21:51.93

199. Aubrey Connelly (Sr., CL) – 21:54.69

201. Aubrey Sargent (Fr., SC) – 21:58.00

210. Katelynn Jalosky (Sr., SC) – 22:11.45

229. Molly McNabb (Fr., SC) – 23:08.50

235. Eliza Nelson (Jr., CL) – 23:37.84

241. Paris Parraghi (Sr., CL) – 24:00.08

243. Clair Bacon (Soph., SC) – 24:06.90

Division 3 Boys:

175. Julian Walker (Fr., ALG) – 18:34.65

183. Steven Butler (Sr., ALM) – 18:41.36

189. David Clemons (Jr., ALG) – 18:48.34

227. Owen Beindit (Fr., ALG) – 19:39.13

236. Hunter Byerly (Sr., ALG) – 20:19.59

237. Griffin Melrose (Jr., ALG) – 20:20.15

245. Jack Reyes (Fr., ALG) – 20:47.71

247. Zach Witherspoon (Fr., ALG) – 21:00.39

Division 3 Girls:

159. Jasmine Walker (Fr., ALG) – 22:16.67

170. Laila Evola (Fr., ALM) – 22:32.77

194. Haylee Byerley (Soph., ALG) – 23:08.92

220. Charlie Harms (Soph., ALG) 24:00.22


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