The Saline boys’ cross country team finished second in one of the largest races of the year – The Spartan Invitational at East Lansing.
Saline tied top ranked Waterford Mott for first with a score of 191 after the first five runners. Waterford Mott won on the tie-breaker – their sixth fastest runner edged Saline’s sixth fastest runner.
Saline coach Carl Spina said it was a tough loss, considering how well the team ran. But it’s a loss they can learn from.
“I knew the scores would be close, and I was ready to be second or third by a few points. Ties don't happen very often in cross country, and to lose on the sixth-man tiebreaker...that hurts. No way around it. It hurts,” Spina said. “There's an important lesson to be learned there that every spot matters a lot. A hard lesson, but an important lesson. I think boys learned it. If not, they'll learn it over the next few days because that one hurts for a long time.”
Spina said his team went to East Lansing ready to run.
“The varsity team ran very well today. Spartan is a tough field, probably the best we will see before the state finals, so now we have a better idea of where we rank in the state,” Spina said. “The boys have been looking forward to this race since last November and after the win on Tuesday, they were fired-up today.”
For the Hornets, the seniors stole the show, with Grant Praschan crossing line the first for the Saline in a time of 16:10 for the 19th place overall.
“(Grant) has been overshadowed by other Saline runners for most of his career in Saline and he really stepped out of that shadow today,” said Saline coach Carl Spina. “Praschan and Anthony Lamus had unholy finishes. Most of the boys they were racing with will be all-state in November and Praschan and Lamus were just running them down. It was ridiculous. I don't know how else to describe it.”
Lamus finished 22nd with the time of 16:11.
Also breaking into the top 50 were Dylan Jennings in 16:16 in 29th and Andrew Kitto placed 42nd with 16:29.
Rounding out the top five was sophomore, Kevin Hall who placed 79th with a time of 16:58. Junior John Dolsen crossed the finish line in 114th with the time of 17:15. Sean Dew rounded up the Hornets with a time of 17:27 good for 140th.
Spina said the team went to East Lansing with the goal of getting the top four guys to run together.
“They have poured so much of themselves into cross country over the past few years, and they can run together, but they have not until today. So we talked about trusting each other, sticking together throughout the race, and helping each other out,” Spina said. “And at 4,200 meters all four of them were together in a tight pack. It was very photogenic. It didn't stick through the last part of the race, but they'll get it right. That's a pack of four all-state runners right there. That will win a lot of meets.”
In the reserve race, the Hornets ran well.
Placing in the top ten overall of the race was senior Patrick Dunn in 7th place in 17:37 and sophomore Colin Burnett in 9th with a time of 17:38. Also placing in the top thirty were sophomore Brennan Corcoran (22nd 17:54) and junior Kaj Althus (29th, 17:57).
While no unofficial team scores were given, Saline was calculated to have taken home the “unofficial team” trophy as well.
The boys cross team will be back in action next Friday and Saturday at the Jackson Invitational with the reserve race behind held on Friday and the varsity race on Saturday.