MORENCI CROSS: Morenci’s lone entry in the state cross country finals fell short of her goal Saturday, but still turned in a decent showing.
Bulldog sophomore Tatyana Pless finished 62nd in the Div. IV run Saturday on the grounds of the Michigan International Speedway.
She crossed the line at 20:53.
This wasn’t her first time at the state finals, but it was different from a year ago.
“Tatyana was very nervous going into the race,” said Morenci coach Brad Brown. “Not having her teammates in the race with her added to her anxiety and she put a lot of pressure on herself to run better than she did her freshman year.”
With hard work, Coach Brown expects to see a better showing a year from now.
“Now that she’s been to the finals twice, hopefully she’ll become more comfortable with being there,” he said.
“She belongs in the finals and with more summer mileage, I look for her to break the 20-minute barrier regularly next year.”
The Div. IV race was won by a Breckenridge runner who easily out-paced her competitors. She crossed the line at 18:02. Four Div. IV girls finished under the 19-minute mark.
FOOTBALL FINAL: Morenci’s freshman ball carrier led the football team season statistics in rushing, pass reception, scoring and all-purpose yardage.
Austin Sandusky was the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 590 yards and an average of 5.5 yards per carry. He hauled in 22 catches from quarterback Cody Powell for 242 yards and an average of 11 yards per catch.
He added 313 yards on punt returns, and 91 on fumble returns for a total of 1,236 all-purpose yardage.
Gemonte Gibson finished the season with an average of 8.8 yards a carry on five tries and KC Clegg averaged 7.5 yards on 48 carries. Max Gautz finished with an average of 4.5 yards a carry.
Powell completed 58 of 124 passes for 812 yards, averaging 14 yards per attempt. After Sandusky, Jeffers was next in pass success with 186 yards and an average of 26.6 yards per reception.
Hayze Wolf tallied 196 yards in pass receptions with an average of 17.8 yards. Wolf scored four touchdown passes.
Gautz and Sandusky both tallied more than 300 yards in punt returns and each returned three for touchdowns. Gautz finished the season with 578 all-purpose yards.
Lucas Hollstein led in tackles with 109, followed by Wolf with 76 and Jacob McVay with 72. Jeffers had 69 tackles, Powell had 64 and Jay Howard was in on 63.
Howard led in interceptions with five, and Sandusky pulled down three. Jeffers and Gibson each had two interceptions.
MORENCI VOLLEYBALL: By DAVID GREEN
Morenci’s volleyball squad never had the chance to take on the No. 5 ranked team in the state because they first fell to No. 8.
Then, on Saturday morning, No. 8 wiped out No. 5 for a district championship.
The Bulldogs managed to get only a single win Thursday against North Adams in the Rams’ gymnasium. North Adams kept its tournament hopes alive by dropping Lenawee Christian School in four games to take the district championship on Saturday.
“North Adams’ defense is outstanding and that type of team has given us trouble this year,” said Bulldog coach Dennis Owens. “I knew going in that we were playing a good team and playing in their place would add to our task.”
North Adams—ranked eighth in Class D—eked out a 25-22 win in the opening game that stayed close throughout.
Morenci recovered from a five-point deficit to tie the game at 17-each on a tip by Brooke Bovee. Hannah Jeffers scored a pair of aces during the turn-around.
Jessica Storrs scored an ace and Bovee made another kill to close the gap to 20-22. Chelsea Phillips made it 22-24 on a kill, but a Ram attack finished it off.
Missed serves were a factor all night, including in the opening game.
“We missed 10 serves that night after not missing one against Pittsford,” Owens said. “You just can't give good teams free points.”
The Bulldogs missed three serves in the first game and lost the game by three.
“That really gave them momentum and we didn't respond well in game two.”
Little went right for the Bulldogs in the second game, losing 13-25, but it was the Rams’ turn for a collapse in the third game when they fell 25-12.
Morenci looked like it might be on its way to tying up the match in the fourth game as they moved to an 8-3 lead. Storrs scored another ace, Bovee placed a kill just inside the back sideline, and Matea Garcia scored on a short attack.
The North Adams coach called for a timeout and the Rams soon had a 12-10 lead. Morenci tied the game at 13-13 after a kill and an ace from Phillips and a kill from Garcia, but North Adams had the lead for the remainder of the night.
A kill from Jeffers and another from Taylor Schisler brought Morenci to within three points, 17-20, but that was all the closer they got in the 19-25 loss.
“We played well in game three and pretty well in game four, but our serving and their great defense were too much to overcome on that night,” Coach Owens said.
Lenawee Christian School won the first match of the night, defeating Jackson Christian in three games, and the Cougars were cheering for a North Adams win against Morenci. They got their wish, but then the Rams eliminated No. 5 ranked LCS in the district finals, 3-1.
Bovee served 14/15 with nine points and 20 kills, 13 assists, 12 digs and two blocks. Garcia was 12/14 serving with six points, 18 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills. Phillips served 10/12 with three aces and eight points, along with eight kills and six digs. Jeffers was 13/15 serving with eight points, 16 digs and eight kills. Carolyn Blaker was 8/8 serving with 13 digs.
In the first round of the tournament, Morenci defeated Pittsford in three games, 25-11, 25-23 and 25-7.
“We didn’t play very well,” Coach Owens said, “but we got accomplished what we went there for.”
It wasn’t until the final game that the Bulldogs seemed to reach their rhythm, he said.
In the other opening round contest, Jackson Christian defeated Waldron in three games, 25-9, 25-9 and 25-11.
Jeffers led the Morenci offense, going 20/20 from the service line with 15 points and five aces. She also had 15 digs and four kills. Bovee served 10/10 and added 16 kills, 12 digs, eight assists and four blocks. Garcia was 12/12 in serves with nine points, three aces, 16 assists and five kills. Storrs was 14/14 with 10 points and two aces. Phillips had six kills and two blocks.