Saline cross country is back on top of the SEC Red.
Despite racing without one of their best runners, the Hornets placed second in Thursday’s SEC Red Jamboree, which gave them more than enough points to capture the crown. Saline finished with 33 points, three more than Pioneer, who won the meet at Hudson Mills Thursday. Skyline was third with 22 points.
While expectations are always high for Saline cross country, few people would have considered the Hornets a favorite to win the conference this year. The Pioneers were the two-time reigning champs and Skyline was an up and coming program. As late as this summer, coach Carl Spina wasn’t sure what he had in this year’s team.
“It was kind of a surprise season. A lot of things have come together. The most recent was J-Fed (Jason Fedoronko) just running out of his mind all of the sudden. He’s a 16:08 kid all of the sudden when he was a high 17 kid last year. There are these pieces that have come along that area a big surprise for us,” Spina said. “We’re loving every minute. One of our big goals is to celebrate every victory. We’re getting to celebrate things that we didn’t think would happen.”
Saline placed five runners on the All SEC Red team, including Will Minnette, Christopher Van Dyke, Cole Trese, Jonathan Speers and Jacob Brunty.
Saline finished with 51 points - 17 back of Pioneer. Skyline was third with 59 points.
The Hornets were led once again by Minnette, who finished second in 15:55.1 - the fastest SEC jamboree time ever for the senior.
Spina said Minnette raced the way a senior captain should.
“He was really excited and came into the race with a lot of energy. He has expectation has expectations of himself and his team. Every captain wants to be an individual and team champion,” Spina said. “He ran well and did a great job for us today. He closed down a lot on the kid (Skyline’s Hobbs Kessler) who won it. The distance between them at Portage was a lot greater.”
Minnette finished in 15:55.1. Kessler won in 15:52.8.
All of the Hornet scorers finished earned a spot on the all-SEC Red team. They were Van Dyke (6th, 16:28), Trese (12th, 16:39), Speers (14th, 16:44) and Brunty (17th, 16:51). Emmett Berryhill (24th, 17:21) and Max Pfeiffer (27th, 17:32) also ran for Saline.
“All of our kids ran great for us today,” Spina said.
The Hornets now turn their attention to the regional, Saturday, Oct. 26 at Lake Erie Metropark.