Saline placed five runners in the top 10 to win its 7th straight SEC Red boys’ cross country championship on a rainy afternoon at Hudson Mills Metropark.
(Photo by Ginger Liemohn)
The Hornets, led by Anthony DeKraker, finished with 33 points to easily win the meet. Pioneer was second with 46 points. Saline finished atop the season standings with 35 points. Pioneer was second with 29 points.
“Based on the post-race enthusiasm, this group appreciated their victories in exactly the way the coaches wanted. While the program has amassed a string of conference championships, they never come easy,” Saline coach Carl Spina said. “Each is expensive in terms of time, effort, and mental tenacity. I was glad to see our athletes wallowing in the team accomplishment and excitement.”
DeKraker, a junior, appears to be peaking at the right time of the season. He was second in 16:19.86.
The race was won by Pioneer sophomore Nick Foster, who won in 16:07 on the slippery course.
Senior Aidan Carichner was fifth in 16:26.28, a few seconds faster than senior Evan Koerschner, who was seventh in 16:29.13. Joshua Cook was ninth in 16:44.49 and senior Connor Meehan was 10th 16:46.85.
Sophomore Jevin Nishioka returned to action and was 15th in 17:04. Junior Aidan Delfuoco was 17th in 17:11.81.
“Our top-seven have many important skills, two of which were very visible in Thursday’s race. First, in the last 1,000 meters of the race, our boys are moving forward. In championship racing, nearly everyone gets out well. Victory is decided by what happens in the last mile, and our 3 through 7 runners all closed gaps and picked up places in those late stages,” Spina said. “Also, in a finishing kick, no team is more comfortable than Saline. We win there, 9 out of 10 times, and in the varsity race of the SEC championships, every place contested in the last 150 meters went to Saline.”
Spina also credited senior Evan Koerschner, who achieved all-SEC honors for the fourth straight year.
“ In a very good conference, he has been consistently very good and for a very long time. Evan joins Dustin Voss as the only Saline athletes to do such a thing,” Spina said. “The only thing more impressive than the company he joins is the names absent from that list; Hall, Wetzel, Conn, Hunt, Johnson, Hernandez, Moore, Atzinger, Moore, Davis, Pogliano, Karr, etc… did not do what Evan has done. Given that our records of All-Conference athletes dates back to 1978, Evan will always be known as one of our program’s most outstanding athletes.”
The Hornets also won the junior varsity race with 19 points, 38 better than second place Pioneer. Simon Pfeiffer won the race in 17:22.39 – just a little faster than second place Derek Liemohn (17:23.06). Neil Garg was fourth in 17:35.83, Aaron Milley was fifth in 17:36.37 and William Downey was seventh in 17:39.52.
Ann Arbor Running Co. 3 Stars
- Anthony DeKraker – Led the Hornets for the second straight race. Keeps racing better as the Hornets get deeper in the season.
- Aidan Carichner – The senior leader made all-conference for the first time.
- Evan Koerschner – The senior made the all-conference team four times in four years.