From contributing writer Barbara Read:
Although scoring at meets goes to whole teams, the noteworthy team achievements are made up of individuals crushing their own previous best times, and Dexter’s team has the formula down.
In the past three men’s cross country races, nine of fifteen freshmen achieved new personal record times, seven of eleven sophomores have new personal records with one new season record, four of nine juniors scored new personal records in addition to a new season record, and three of ten seniors ran new PRs with two additional season records. With each race, the boys on the team move closer to a team qualification to the state meet. Already 7th in the state in the highly competitive Division 1 cohort, they bested two of the higher ranked teams, Skyline and Saline, at Portage on Saturday; and ran a better race than Chelsea, man for man.
A few of the notable personal improvements since the Holly Invitational go to Thomas Bauer who dropped 2:42 from his early season times, Griffin Bentley who dropped 42 seconds, Evan Bursch who ran 1:29 faster, Quentin Hurdle who ran 42 seconds faster than his earlier races, Josh Lamb who ran 38 seconds faster, Andrew Petik who cut 1:25 from the earlier races, Noah Schultz who ran 34 seconds faster, and Vincenso Sencich who improved by 1:23.
The team standings also reflect the personal improvements. In the Jackson JV race on Friday, the team came in first place out of fifteen teams with a total score of 27 points. Team leaders Conor Kolka (3rd), Finn Bell (5th), Ransom Duncan (6th), Noah Hayter (10th), and Rishabh Kothari (11th) carried the win. On Saturday morning, the varsity team eked out fourth place among 26 teams and a surprise first place win by Clarkston.
The following week at Adrian’s notoriously difficult course, only three runners out of 149 total athletes in the combined varsity/junior varsity race posted PRs, none of whom were on top teams. And no runners posted season best times. In spite of that, the top five scoring Dexter runners placed in the top thirteen overall: Nathan Larson (2nd), Owen Huard (6th), Nick McKenzie (11th), Seth Read (12th), and Noah Hayter (13th).
But the Portage invitational on Saturday was the race of the season thus far. While previously ranked 7th behind Skyline and Saline, Dexter’s team blew them away at the unpredictable course. Two years ago, it was pouring rain, last year the issue was ground hornets requiring a last minute rerouting of the course, and this year the challenge was unseasonably hot and humid weather giving way to afternoon drizzle, but that did not slow the dreadnaughts down. The varsity team came in second place out of thirty-six teams at 127 points to Skyline’s 148 and Saline’s 198 team points. Athletic.net
It should also be noted that although Chelsea won their Division 2 race, four of the scoring runners were outpaced man to man by their Dexter counterparts. The total times for Dexter’s varsity top 5 equalled 82:35, while Chelsea ran the exact same course at a total time of 83:21 (all numbers were rounded down to the nearest full second). Again, the victory came down to personal improvements.
The same is true of the JV race where the Dexter team finished 5th out of thirty-one teams, also beating Chelsea man for man at an even greater margin of 89:20 to 93:51.
Between now and the SEC Championship meet stands the Gabriel Richard Invitational on Saturday, October 13th, at Hudson Mills Metropark (JV 12:30, Varsity 1:45). If Portage is an indication of the strength of the Dreadnaughts, Dexter could pull out a win over Chelsea on October 18th at the Final SEC meet of the season on their home course at Hudson Mills Metropark. Varsity men run at 2:30, Varsity women at 3:30, Reserve men at 4:30, and Reserve Women at 5:15. Come cheer them on at Gabriel Richard and SEC#3, both in Dexter.