Young Sault Cross Country Team Fares Well in Season Opener

The Sault Blue Devils cross country teams competed in their first meet of the season at the Red Devil Invitational in East Jordan this week. The high school teams were in the “big schools” pool against some very tough competition. The varsity girls placed fifth out of seven teams, with a score of 130 points. The varsity boys came in fourth place out of nine teams, with a score of 115 points. 

Head Coach Jim Martin had a lot of great things to say about his athletes’ performances. “The varsity girls team was full of surprises. (Senior) Abby Walther (22:35.48) ran an excellent race as our number one runner. (Sophomore) Elise Proulx (22:59.31) ran a lifetime best to finish right behind Abby while (senior) Calla Armstrong (23:01.76) was only a second or two behind Elise.  Calla was very closely followed by a huge pack of lady Blue Devils led by (sophomore) Stephanie Jones (23:35.88) and (freshman) Leighton Nyboer (23:37.53). Leighton was closely followed by (sophomore) Taylor Meilstrup (23:53.65) and (freshman) Regan Sporte (23:56.64). Taylor, Regan and Leighton all ran lifetime bests. Like the boys, the girls are very young as five of the top seven are also freshmen or sophomores.”

The boys team also did well with sophomore Gabe Litzner winning the overall race. “We lost our 2,3,4,5 and 7 from last year on the boys team. These kids did a great job finishing in the top five in a very tough field. Gabe (15:43.95) was sensational and had, not only a PR but possibly the fastest time in school history. (Sophomore) Shea Armstrong (17:21.34) ran the best race of his life. He stepped up big time. Speaking of stepping up, we had a nice pack that kind of sealed the deal for a top five finish with (junior) Evan Huyck (19:25.36), (sophomore) Ryan O’Connor (19:36.82), and (freshman) Chase Aldridge (19:42.54). Chase and Ryan both ran lifetime PR’s. With all we lost from last year, I could not ask for any more. These kids are just plain tough. But that’s not the best part. Four of the top five are underclassmen.” Junior McKal Berry (20:19.40) and senior Devin Goetz (20:55.91) rounded out the top 7 runners for the boys team. 

The Sault Area Middle School cross country team sent some runners down to the event as well. Their two mile run was considered a scrimmage with no official timing, but coaches were still following their runners. There were 19 teams that had athletes in the scrimmage, and both the boys and girls teams from the Sault unofficially placed second among the runners. There were a number of athletes that finished the two mile run in under 15 minutes. For the girls, Isabelle McCord (14:22) and Cora Goulet (14:25) ran a close race. On the boys team, Ian Southwell (12:59), Drew Burtt (13:05), Zachary Peterson (14:19), and Mace Kavanaugh (14:41) all had times that impressed their coaches as well. Regarding the whole middle school team, Coach Martin and Coach Stephanie Vert shared, “They work really hard in practice and are a very coachable group. And we were missing quite a few very good runners.”

“Really proud of the kids. Congrats to all on a job well done!”

Next week, the high school and middle school teams head west to Manistique to compete in the Emeralds XC Invitational. 

Photo credit: Ursula Walther

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