CROSS COUNTRY—Morenci’s two veteran cross country runners showed improvement over a year ago at the County Preview meet Aug. 16.
Senior Zach Phillips place third in the junior/senior boys run at Tecumseh with a 17:54. Blissfield’s Justin Bateson won the race at 16:34, followed by Will Brown of Lenawee Christian School at 17:26.
“That was an improvement from last year,” coach Brad Brown said, “but it’s not what Zach was after. He has high expectations and that’s exactly what I want him to have.”
Classmate Jeff Nofziger earned a medal with an 18th place finish at 19:53, his best run ever by 10 seconds.
Morenci had a pair of rookie runners in the girls’ race.
Freshman Rachel Sodergren finished 20th for a medal with a time of 28:34 in the freshman/sophomore run.
“This was her first varsity race and she was nervous,” Coach Brown said, “but she did well to get a medal and I’m sure she capable of a better time.”
Junior Kate Gallup ran her first race ever, also, taking 31st in the junior/senior run at 29:00.
“This was Kate’s first cross country experience and she’s just starting with distance work.”
Brown knows this will make her stronger in her spring track events, and he noted that she’s not the first Morenci sprinter to compete in cross country.
Tecumseh’s Jordan Harrison turned in the fastest time of the day among the girls with a 20:07.
• The Bulldogs travel Tuesday to Hudson.
MORENCI SPORTS—Fall sports teams in Fayette have all started their seasons now that the volleyball squad played its first match Monday. Morenci’s teams follow suit this week, including the first football contest of the season.
Morenci’s volleyball team opened the season Tuesday night at Hudson. They’ll take a break until Sept. 4 when they make a trip to Madison. The home season opens Sept. 5 against Fayette.
The cross country teams participated in the county preview Aug. 16, but there’s nothing on the schedule now until they visit Hudson Sept. 2.
Football opens at 7 p.m. Friday with a home game on the road. What’s that?
The game was scheduled at Adrian College when a school maintenance project called for the track to be torn up this summer. Due to impending construction, the game was moved.
That project is now set for next summer, but the decision was made to play on the college field anyway.
Morenci will give Auburn Hills Oakland Christian an introduction to varsity football since this is the Lancers’ first season to field a varsity squad in the school’s 41 year history.
You might say that Oakland Christian has one secret weapon: the line coach is former Detroit Lions standout defensive lineman Luther Eliss.
Morenci coach Dan Hoffman knows that name well.
“I have one of his posters hanging up in the locker room,” Hoffman said. “I should take it down and have him autograph it.”
A news article about the team stated that 30 players were expected to join the squad, but it would be a combined varsity/junior varsity team, and freshmen were expected to have the biggest representation.
The Lancers’ football program is funded through private donations, including a financial gift from the Lions.
After watching the team scrimmage, Hoffman knows the rookie squad has a long way to go. But the Bulldogs have their own challenges.
Since last spring, five players have either moved out of the district or decided not to play, and four of them would have been two-way starters, Hoffman said.
He expects to have 20 players dressed for Friday’s opener.
Morenci’s JV team will play visitors from Farwell here Thursday at 6 p.m.
Look for previews of all Morenci and Fayette teams in next week’s Observer.
FAYETTE GOLF—After the first three outings of the season, Fayette’s golf team boasts a 5-1 record, and two different players have come through with medalist honors.
The Eagles’ first loss came at the hands of a sharp Archbold squad that won a quadrangular match-up at Ironwood Aug. 13.
The Blue Streaks had four players in the 30s for a score of 151, ahead of Fayette with 171. Ayersville took third with 176, followed by Pettisville with only three competitors.
Archbold’s Steve Kinsman was medalist with 34, followed closely by Caleb Brinegar with a 36. Other Fayette competitors were Austin Hylander, 42; Eliott Richardson, 45; Chase Hookstadt, 48; Jonathon Boesger, 54; and Nelson Barnhiser, 55.
Fayette captured a triangular match at home Sept. 19, scoring 169 to Delta’s 172 and Hilltop’s 233. Richardson and Delta’s John Simon tied for medalist honors with 38 each.
Brinegar was a stroke behind with 39, followed by Hylander, 45; Hookstadt, 47; Kevin Ferguson, 50; and Barnhiser, 51.
Pettisville visited Aug. 21 and went home with a 176-258 loss.
Brinegar came through with a 38 and Richardson was four strokes behind at 42. Hylander and Barnhiser finished at 48, Hookstadt with 52 and Ferguson with 53.
• The Eagles take a break until the Stryker Invitational on Sept. 6.
YOUTH BASKETBALL—The Morenci girls’ varsity basketball team will host a weekly basketball program for first and second grade girls from noon to 1:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 13 and ending Oct. 25, at Morenci Bible Fellowship. Coaches and varsity ball players will run the program.
The program costs $25 for one child and $40 for two or more children.
Forms will be sent home with students next week and must be returned by Sept. 8.