The Saline boys cross country team took another big step towards a league championship Tuesday at Pioneer High School.
Pioneer sophomore Nick Foster run the 5K race in 16:13, but the Hornets placed five runners in the top 12 to win the meet with 38 points – 12 better than second place Pioneer.
Saline now has 20 points atop the SEC Red standings. Pioneer is second with 17.
The SEC Red final jamboree takes place Oct. 20 at Hudson Mills Metropark.
Coach Carl Spina said Tuesday’s victory was an important one for the Hornets – who were ranked atop the state’s best teams in the recent coaches poll.
“Winning the conference is important. Everyone understands what a conference championship means and we took another important step toward that today,” Spina said.
The Hornets were led again by Aidan Carichner. The senior finished in 16:30.77. He and junior Anthony DeKraker were neck and neck during a mad sprint to the finish. DeKraker finished fourth in 16:31.06.
“One of the things we stress to prepare runners for the state meet is racing for the final 1,000 meters,” Spina said.
Evan Koerschner was eighth in 16:40.29. Joshua Cook (11th, 16:52.84) and Connor Meehan (12th, 16:54) also finished in the scoring. Aidan Delfuoco (13th, 17:10.15) and Derek Liemohn (16th, 17:18.07) also impacted scoring by finishing ahead of scoring Pioneer runners. Sophomore Simon Pfeiffer finished 20th in 17:32.9.
Spina wanted to rest his team, which ran Saturday at the Jackson High School invitational. But with Pioneer nipping at the Hornets’ heels, Saline went with its “A” team, with the exception of Jevin Nishioka, who was out nursing an injury.
“We couldn’t afford to have our some of our top guys sit out, but we held them back a little,” Spina said.
Race times were a little slower than the blazing fast times at Jackson over the weekend.
Senior Aaron Milley finished first in the boys’ junior varsity race as Saline won with 31 points, 14 better than Skyline. Sophomore William Downey (3rd, 17:46), senior Toby Mepham (7th, 18:06), sophomore Bryce Brophy (9th, 18:14) and senior Trevor Bishop (11th, 18:16) also finished in the scoring.
The Ann Arbor Running Co 3 Stars
- Aidan Carichner – Coming into his senior year, Carichner had never finished better than 19th in a varsity SEC Jamboree. This year he’s placed fifth and third.
- Anthony DeKraker – Since struggling a little bit at the first SEC Jamboree, DeKraker has hit his stride.
- Evan Koerschner – The Saline senior turned in another solid outing