Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The Port Huron Northern boys cross country team edged the Yale Bulldogs today to take home the team title at the Mike Jackson Memorial invitational. On the girls side, Caro topped the host school, Croswell-Lexington, which finished as runner-up.
“We see Yale a lot and we’re pretty competitive against them,” Huskies head coach Paul Nevado said. “I think we have a pretty healthy relationship with each other. We always look to them in the area because we see them quite a bit.”
Yale senior Lukas Kriesch led his team as the overall winner with a time of 16 minutes, 48.39 seconds, but it was Northern’s strong pack running that secured its two-point victory.
Senior Glen Davis was second in 16:59.13 and his junior teammates, Luke VanderHeuvel (17:15) and Luke Maher (17:24), were fourth and fifth, respectively. Their pack was broken up only by Blake Ferguson, a junior from Yale, who finished in 17:02.
Michael Paoletti began his final season as a Husky with his strongest start yet, finishing seventh in 17:36, while freshman Ryan Maher’s career is just beginning as he finished 15th in 19:27.
“Our No. 5 runner today was a freshman. Two points is a slim margin, so he really helped us,” Nevado said. “If he was a place behind or whatever, that would’ve been the difference between us winning and getting second.”
Following Ferguson for the Bulldogs was a pair of juniors, Giovanni Pardo-Keegan (18:26) and Acer Campbell (18:28) who captured ninth and 10th, respectively.
“Every single one of us has a lot of work to do, but I think there were a couple of new guys who surprised themselves who didn’t know they could run that fast, so that’s awesome to see. I remember that and it’s a great feeling,” Kriesch said. “It’s exciting. I think we have a lot of hard workers and I’m hoping that continues and we can build off of this.”
Marysville, which finished fifth as a team behind Caro and Ubly, was led by junior Trent Glass (19:20) and senior Lance Kowalski (19:26) in 13th and 14th. Junior Alex Robertson led sixth-place Marine City in 24th overall in 19:50.
Cros-Lex sophomore Eva Thompson led the girls race from start to finish, winning in 20:33.96.
“It felt pretty good. I was just hoping to feel good today because we had just gotten done with camp. I’m happy with how it went,” Thompson said. “I wanted to feel good mentally, not be too stressed or nervous. I wanted to be calm and ready to race and have fun.”
Thompson said the support of her team helped in her pre-race mental preparations.
“It’s nice to have everyone’s support,” she said. “We warm up together, we pray, and everyone wishes everyone good luck. It’s nice.”
Her junior teammate Morgan Newton finished second overall in 20:42, while fellow junior Abby Barkley finished third for the Pioneers and 10th overall in 22:32.
“I think for what we did this week, we were competitive and that’s what I wanted us to be,” Pioneers head coach Lisa Shaw said. “I’ll tell you what I loved: In the middle of the race, my fourth through eighth runners were really close as a pack. That was nice. That tells me there’s going to be a fight for the fifth position and there’s going to be potential for change.”
Marysville captured third as a team, led by sophomore Lillian Rutallie in eighth (22:13) and senior Riley DenUyl in 15th (23:23).
And Northern, which finished fourth as a team, was led by seniors Reese Georgia (21:09) and Dylan Pasia (22:13) in third and ninth, respectively.
“I felt it went pretty well,” Georgia said. “I ran 21 seconds faster than I did last year on this course. That’s kind of what I based this off of, not really my PR but what I ran at my first race last year, and I think it’s a very solid start to the season.”
She said having nearly twice as many girls on this year’s team has helped her stay motivated and even more excited about her final season.
“It motivates me because I want to be able to show them and motivate them as well because it’s a lot of their first seasons,” she said.
To view the full results from the Mike Jackson Memorial Invitational, click here.
Click the arrows to view race day pictures: