Saline won its ninth consecutive regional boys cross country title at Lake Erie Metropark Saturday.
But don’t tell coach Carl Spina that. For Spina, he sees each championship as its own victory for that specific team.
“We’ve done a lot in the program. These kids know all the names. They know about the legacy. But for them, they want their own season, their own thing. So I’m excited for these guys. They’re making their own mark,” Spina said.
A lot of facts and circumstances conspire to make Saline victories seem a little too automatic. The streak, for one. The number one ranking in the state poll. Anything short of victory would have been a surprise. And Pioneer nearly surprised Saline. After the race was over, coaches and parents fretted about the possibility that the Pioneers nearly upset the Hornets. But when the results came in, Saline won by a nine point-margin, 42-51.
Anthony DeKraker was the fastest Hornet – a familiar refrain over the last three weeks. He finished third in 16:23.97. He ran with Pioneer’s Nick Foster for much of the race, until Foster pulled away at the end.
“Anthony is a fantastic athlete. He has everything you want in a cross country runner. His goal today was to hang on to the Pioneer runner as long as he could and finish as high in the field as he could. He’s really close to being able to beat that kid,” Spina said. “He’s a big meet racer who does well in tough conditions.”
He was followed in by Aidan Carichner, who was fourth in 16:38.
“Aidan has been a rock. Last year he came her and struggled early on and then pulled it together and ran a good race. Today he ran a great race,” Spina said. “He’s a little dinged up, but he’s not going to let that slow him down. He’s a tough kid. He’s everything you want to see in your captain.”
Evan Koerschner was sixth in 16:47. It was the fourth time in four years Koerschner earned all-region honors. Senior Connor Meehan was 10th in 16:52 to earn all-region honors for the second year in a row.
Sophomore Jevin Nishioka also figured into the scoring, finishing 19th in 17:17. Juniors Aidan Delfuoco (24th, 17:37) and Joshua Cook (26th, 17:43) also ran.
Spina said the results were a little too close for comfort.
“The plan was not to keep it close at all. It is good to have that knowledge that we have to run and perform well. It was good to see our number five clean up for us a little bit. But we really wanted to come into this meet and build momentum. We got some things done well,” Spina said.
The Hornets now turn their attention to the state meet. Saline runs at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5 at Michigan International Speedway.
The Ann Arbor Running Company 3 Stars
- Anthony Dekraker: Peaking at the right time and looks stronger every week.
- Aidan Carichner: Keeps setting the pace for the Hornets.
- Evan Koerschner: One of the most decorated Saline XC runners of all time. Has been a key runner on this team since his freshman year.