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HomeSportsSt. Michael High School cross country team posts best Finals performance in...

St. Michael High School cross country team posts best Finals performance in school’s history

boys cross country team
(L to R) Moore, Jerome Fate, Dom Fantozzi, Cadarette, Russ Vandermus, Levi Benzing, Cody Bradley, Zach Maendel

PETOSKEY – St. Michael High School (SMHS), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, has its best State Finals performance in the school’s history. They announced today that its Boys Cross Country (XC) team finished third at the Division-4 State Finals on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Top-ranked Potter’s House Christian dominated the race, setting an all-time D-4 record by scoring just 35 points.  Second-ranked Johannesburg-Lewiston cruised into the runner-up spot, following an impressive regional performance with an even stronger race at State with 101 points.  The Guardians finished third, also comfortably in front of the remaining pursuers with 153 points, 54 ahead of fourth-place Hillsdale Academy at 207.  (Lower is better in XC scoring.

SMHS XC Coach Larry Rudnicki said, “After a big race, like most coaches, I’m typically figuring out how we might have dropped a few more places – but when no other team is within fifty points, this exercise is even less relevant than usual!  While we didn’t reach our goal of landing on the podium, it’s clear from the team scoring that there was no denying Potter’s House or Jo’burg this year.  Even so, our program has made long strides in what was unquestionably our most successful season yet! Not only is third our highest-ever finish, but we did it among the stoutest D-4 field we’ve seen in our five seasons of existence.  A merge of our results into the D-3 race (which followed ours) has us placing fifth.”

Mac Moore and Lynus Cadarette earned All-State honors for St. Michael, placing 19th and 26th in 17:04 and 17:15, respectively.  Zach Maendel followed in 37th at 17:30 with Cody Bradley close behind in 47th at 17:39. “While Lynus has had an incredible rookie campaign, no one on our team closed out the season better than Cody!  Also, a freshman, Cody followed a massive personal best at the Regional with an even stronger run at State!”

Russell Vandermus rounded out the team’s scoring in 90th place at 18:09 with Levi Benzing close behind in 94th place at 18:13. Jerome Fate also competed for the Guardians.  In team scoring (which excludes individuals), St. Michael placed 15th, 18th, 26th, 35th, and 59th for its 153-point total.  Coach Rudnicki continued, “The consistent success of our program starts with our positive, persevering, faith-filled team culture, which I can’t emphasize strongly enough.  This, our best and most enjoyable season ever, has its roots with the ‘buy in’ and bankable leadership of our senior captains Mac and Zach, without whom none of this would have happened.” “Mac is the last of our founding members and we’ll be in uncharted waters without him next year.  His tireless work ethic and fierce competitiveness have motivated teammates throughout his career while his optimism and pleasant demeanor have pulled them through the ‘mid-season grind’ to robust finishes at State.  The addition of Zach to our team last season has proven invaluable to our success.  His reliability, in year-round training and firm yet gentle leadership, helps to guide and inspire not only his teammates but quite often his head coach as well!”

The St. Michael Girls XC team finished 24th with 529 points in its second State Finals outing.  Jane Manthei led the team with a 40th place finish in 21:02.  She was followed by Veronica Paga and Sydney Feagan who placed 120th and 149th in 22:39 and 23:02, respectively.  Hannah Ledy, Siobhan Weed, and Catherine Hayes also competed for the Guardians.  Top-ranked Johannesburg-Lewiston easily claimed its program’s first State title with just 118 points.

“Coaching our ladies was such a pleasure this season!  Much like our guys, their positive attitudes, docility, and resilience offer a platform upon which we can further build the program.  I’m particularly proud of how Jane pushed through multiple setbacks this season to a great finish at Regional and State!” Coach Rudnicki concluded, “Again, I congratulate our team members for their accomplishments, and I thank our families for being so incredibly supportive!  I also give special thanks to my Assistant Coach, Ian Provoast, and to the entire St. Michael community.”

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