Blue Devils Cross Country Teams Finish Strong; Litzner wins Back to Back Titles

The Sault High Varsity Blue Devils Cross Country teams competed in the MHSAA UP Finals this weekend. The teams returned to Gladstone, where they had success just a few weeks ago at the Barnyard Invitational. The Girls finished third with 92 points in Division 1, following champions Marquette 23 points, and runners up Houghton 53 points. The Boys team were runners up with 60 points to Marquette’s 22 points, and Houghton taking third with 74 points. 

The D1 girls ran first and senior Abby Walther (21:33) placed tenth overall. Teammates sophomores Stephanie Jones (22:08.7) and Elise Proulx (22:22.60); seniors Calla Armstrong (22:28.9) and Dayna Szabo (22:47.9); and freshmen Regan Sporte (23:13.5) and Leighton Nyboer (23:51.6) rounded out the third place squad. Senior co-captain Walther reflects on the season, and her cross country career. “This season has truly been one of the best for me personally and as a team. Our girls team was pretty consistent when it came to times and places and I think we all really showed up when it came to race days. After having an off junior season it was the best feeling to be able to compete in UP Finals this year and to finish top 10 with a PR I really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. As for the team I’m incredibly proud of how the girls ran, it really shows how hard we have all worked this season at practice and meets.”

The D1 boys were up first after all of the girls divisions were finished. Reigning UP Champion sophomore Gabe Litzner (15:56.6) was the first athlete to cross the finish line again. Teammate Shea Armstrong (16:41.8) also a sophomore, was not too far behind finishing in fifth place. Juniors Eli Hills (17:38.3) and Evan Huyck (18:12.0), freshman Chase Aldridge (19:06.0), sophomore Ryan O’Connor (19:27.0), and junior McKal Berry (19:50.3) completed the runner up squad. Litzner shared about the experience. “Winning back to back championships is a very big step for me as I want to win all 4 years. I am very excited with the progress of my team and how much they have gotten better over the season. My season has also gone very well and am happy I met my goals but I have to keep thinking about what is to come and how I can get better.”

The teams overall had really successful seasons, winning the Emeralds Invite, Barnyard Invite and Straits Area Conference Championships. They also placed in the top five at the Red Devils Classic, Northwood Invite (boys), Jackson Invite, Elks Invite, and Rudyard Classic. The teams are coached by Head Coach Jim Martin, and assistants Stephanie Vert, Allen and Ursula Walthers. 

Photo credit: Ursula Walther and Teresa Dwyer-Armstrong 

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