FAYETTE CROSS: Fayette’s two cross country regional qualifiers came home short of their goal and missed qualifying for the state finals.
Sophomore Jill Stuckey finished in the 39th spot at 21:21, with teammate Melani Seiler, a junior, coming in at 43rd with a time of 21:47.
“They were both bummed,” said coach Bryan Stambaugh, “but they had a pretty strong finish. Hopefully they can both get there next year.”
After walking the course prior to the race, Stambaugh expected times to be on the slow side due to the muddy conditions.
“I told them to forget about their time,” he said. “You’re just going to have to run for place.”
Stuckey had a close encounter with the mud.
Runners face a tough hill about half a mile from the end and there was lots of mud at the bottom. Stambaugh was positioned farther along the course and noticed some of the runners that were near Stuckey earlier, but she was nowhere in sight. She soon appeared with mud from a fall.
This year’s run marked Seiler’s second regional run and the first for Stuckey.
A freshman from Liberty Center was the champion Saturday, turning in an impressive 18:46. Ten runners finished under the 20-minute mark.
In the boys run, a senior from Coldwater finished at 16:16.
MORENCI CROSS: One Morenci runner will advance to the Div. IV cross country finals Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
Sophomore Tatyana Pless will make her second trip to the state finals after qualifying a year ago when she attended Blissfield schools.
A year ago Pless qualified as a freshman in Div. III and she repeated this year in Div. IV Saturday at Hudson, placing eighth at 20:49. At the state finals a year ago, she lowered her time to 19:56 and placed 61st.
“The state meet tends to do that to people,” said Morenci coach Brad Brown.
That time would have placed her at 23rd in Div. IV.
“She has an opportunity to be in the top 30 this year,” Brown said, but she will likely need to get below the 20-minute mark.
Pless’s run Saturday was her best of the season.
Morenci sophomore Mariah Gillen was hoping for a return trip, also, but finished in 21st place at 22:08. Only the top 15 runners advance to the finals. That was Gillen’s top run of the season.
Junior Taylor Baugh trimmed more than a minute off her regional run time from last year at Hudson, placing 40th at 24:56. Senior Kortney Cousino followed in 46th place at 25:21 and Mary Margaret Hollstein took 63rd at 30:58.
Hillsdale Academy’s Shaley Albaugh won the girls race with a time of 19:19.
Pless will compete Saturday in the first race of the day at 10 a.m.
In the boys regional race, eight runners finished under 17 minutes, led by Stephan Biggs who turned in a 16:10.
Morenci junior Luke Spaulding led the Bulldogs with a 26th-place finish at 18:32. His brother, Jake, followed in 37th at 19:09, followed by sophomore Reagan Stowell who trimmed 35 seconds from last year’s run to place 49th at 19:41.
Freshman Spencer Elliott was just behind at 19:42 and freshman Tyler Sterling placed 81st at 23:31.
That was Elliott’s top performance of the season, Brown said, as he continues to adjust to the longer course after middle school. Brown was also impressed with Sterling’s run. The rookie runner joined the team late in the season and continues to make large improvements.
MORENCI FOOTBALL: It didn’t look like easy going, but it looked like Morenci could come out the victors Friday night at Pittsford.
Neither team was gaining much headway in the first half, but a 51-yard pass from Bulldog quarterback Cody Powell to Chris Howard game Morenci a 7-0 lead at intermission.
And then came the second half.
The Bulldogs (5-5) were held to negative yardage; Pittsford (8-2) moved through Morenci’s defense over and over.
It looked like a different Wildcat team in the second half, and that half belonged to them.
“We just didn’t get it done,” said Morenci’s first-year coach, Taz Wallace.
A lack of execution on both sides of the ball took the Bulldogs out of post-season play in a 20-7 loss. The Wildcats will move on to the district finals this weekend against top-10 ranked Climax-Scotts, a team they lost a close battle with earlier in the season.
Pittsford lost possession on a fumble in the first half and punted on all the others, wrapping up the first two quarters with only a pair of first downs.
Morenci’s offense was hampered by a pair of fumbles, but the Bulldogs’ Austin Sandusky managed to recover each one.
After a Pittsford punt, Morenci picked a pair of first downs before Powell found Howard open for the touchdown pass.
After that there was only a trading of punts until half-time.
Pittsford put together a steady ground gain to score and trail 7-6, then got the ball back almost immediately when Morenci fumbled on a double-reverse. They were soon in the end zone again to take the lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats took over on downs and ran through the Bulldog line again for a final score with 1:40 to play. Morenci fumbled the on-side kickoff and Pittsford controlled the ball until time ran out.
Sand Creek 7-0 8-1
Summerfield 5-2 6-3
Britton-Deerfield 4-3 6-3
Clinton 4-3 4-5
Morenci 4-3 5-4
Whiteford 3-4 4-5
Whitmore Lake 1-6 2-7
Madison 0-7 1-8
Six Morenci football players were named to the Tri-County Conference first team honor squad.
First team offensive players are senior guard Jordan Bach, junior tight end Hayze Wolf and freshman wide receiver Austin Sandusky.
First team defensive players are senior lineman Lucas Hollstein, senior defensive end Jacob McVay and senior defensive back Jay Howard.
Senior Larry Barron and junior Kendrick Taylor received honorable mention, and Simon Jeffers was Morenci’s sportsmanship team representative.
Junior Cody Powell was the only Bulldog named to the all-academic team, an honor earned by juniors and seniors.
Other first-team offensive picks are Whiteford senior center Justin Holz and senior running back Aaron Kellerbauer; Britton-Deerfield senior wide receiver Eli Browning, junior center Jared Wielfaert and junior running back Brock Prain; Clinton senior guard Mike Felts; Sand Creek senior tackle Nolin Livingston, quarterback Sam Mehan and running back Nathan Sutherland; Summerfield senior tackle Jacob Nowak and sophomore running back Josh Golkiewicz; Whitmore Lake senior wide receiver William Wagner; and Madison junior running back Walter Carter-Thomas.
Other defensive choices are Whiteford senior kicker Austin Bischoff; B-D senior punter Andrew Prielipp and junior outside linebacker Josh Reau; Clinton senior inside linebacker Kevin Cook, defensive end Ken Marion and defensive back Brayden Vires; Sand Creek senior outside linebacker Isaac Hawkins and defensive back Cody Wilt, junior lineman Garrett Miller and inside linebacker Elliott Rains; Summerfield senior lineman Zach Ladd, outside linebacker Dakota Ladd and defensive back Chris Sylvester, and junior inside linebacker Travis Hunter; and Madison senior lineman Jose Rivera.