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Lumen Christi Catholic High School runner Madison Osterberg, left, battles Grass Lake runner Kailee Sandoval during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional at Ella Sharp Park.  Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

Having frontrunners in the sport of cross country is a blessing for high school teams.

Both Hanover-Horton and Lumen Christi Catholic high schools are using their frontrunners to gain cross country success this season.

The Comets won the boys’ Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional title at Ella Sharp on Friday, placing three runners in the top five on the 5K course.

Lumen Christi had three runners in the top four in winning the girls’ regional with 52 points.

The top three teams and top seven runners – not on qualifying teams – qualify for the MHSAA state cross country finals on Friday or Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Hanover-Horton scored 46 points in the boys’ event, besting Leslie by nine points. Homer finished in the third position to secure a spot in the state finals.

H-H runner Dean Reynolds finished first in the boys’ race with a time of 16 minutes, 3 seconds. Teammates Rogan Melling (16:37) and Logan Shepherd (16:46) finished third and fifth respectively.

“It (the pace) was faster than I normally go out,” Reynolds said. “It served me well today.”

Reynolds and the Comets will run in the Division 3 finals on Saturday against other teams who finished first or second in their respective regionals. Another race will feature third-place finishers and individual qualifiers. That means Reynolds and the Comets will not run against all of the competition.

“I will just have to trust my training at the state finals,” Reynolds said.

Alec Shaw of Homer finished second (16:16) in the regional race.

Individual qualifiers included Alex Darnell of Napoleon (17:01) and Jacob Walker of Columbia Central (17:04).

Faith Smith of LCCHS won the regional title in the girls’ regional event. She finished the 5K in 18:54.

“I went out faster than I should have,” Smith said. “I like to go out and be the frontrunner.”

Smith expects to find something she hasn’t faced for most of the season … traffic near her at the state meet.

“It will be a mental thing (having company near the front of the pack),” Smith said. “I am not used to traffic.”

LCCHS freshman Madison Osterberg was second in the regional in 18:59 and teammate Renae Kutcha was fourth overall in 19:50.

Hanover-Horton edged Grass Lake for second place in the regional competition. The Comets finished with 60 points and the Warriors scored 61.

The Comets were led by Sophia Reynolds with a seventh-place finish in 20:30. Grass Lake was led by Kailee Sandoval with a third-place finish in 19:31 and Ava Viegelahn who was ninth in 20:45.

In Division 4 at Ella Sharp Park, Concord easily won the boys’ event and the Yellow Jackets girls’ team finished third to qualify for the state meet.

Jonathan Mikovits won the boys’ race in 16:48 as Concord scored 39 points. Lenawee Christian was second as a team (67), and Whiteford was third (85).

For Concord, Joe Bulko finished sixth (17:44), Logan Barrett was eighth (17:49), and Luke Holton placed 11th (17:54).

Local individual qualifiers were Daniel Casey of Jackson Prep (17:34) and Robbie Michalowski of Addison (18:05).

Skylar Thompson of CHS was second in the girls’ race, finishing with a time of 20:06.

Hillsdale Academy won the girls’ team race with 24 points and Lenawee Christian was second with 59. Concord scored 85 points to edge Morenci (98).

Addison junior Kendal Morris was an individual qualifier with a time of 21:23.

Division 1 at DeWitt: Jackson High School finished sixth as a team at the Division 1 regional at DeWitt. Tyler Lowery finished 10th in 16:44 to become a state qualifier.

Division 2 at DeWitt: Brandt Dubois (20:42) and Aspen Tarpley (24:53) each finished 63rd in their respective races for Northwest High School.

Division 2 at Portage: Western High School finished fifth in the boys’ 5K event. The Panthers did not run in the girls’ event due to COVID-19 concerns. Jacob Singleton (17:06) and Cooper Singleton (17:32) were individual qualifiers for the Panthers and will run in the D-2 state finals on Friday afternoon.

Division 3 at Ann Arbor Huron: Manchester High School earned third place in the girls’ event and fourth place in the boys’ 5K event. The girls’ team will run in the state finals on Saturday. The Flying Dutchmen were led by Allie Koch (20:41) and McKenna Marsh (21:17) who finished fourth and eighth respectively. Nathan Kippnick (17:17) and Robby Romberger (17:58) are state qualifiers for Manchester in Division 3

Division 4 at DeWitt: East Jackson High School finished fifth as a team at the Division 4 regional at DeWitt. Donovan Cook qualified for the D-4 state finals running 18:41. Brynn Mericle finished 28th (24:37) for East Jackson, but failed to qualify for the state meet

Concord High School runner Jonathan Mikovits won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 regional cross country individual title on Friday at Ella Sharp Park in Jackson. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

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