PETOSKEY – November 2, 2020 – St. Michael Academy (SMA), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, is very pleased to announce that its Boys Cross Country (XC) team won its Regional Championship on Saturday, the first in school history in any sport!

The Guardians took the top three places, scoring just 36 points to claim the Regional title over seven other qualifying teams.  Sam Paga won the race in a school-record time of 16:27, followed by Hammond Law in 16:53, and Mac Moore in 17:33.  William Gagnon and Jake Walz were also scoring runners for SMA.  The win propels the 6th ranked Guardians into this weekend’s State Finals.

SMA Headmaster Dr. Richard Brake stated, “Just a few years ago, I’d have scoffed at the suggestion that we could win a Regional Championship in any sport, let alone Boys Cross Country!  Today, we’ve not only achieved this goal, but we have a puncher’s chance of competing for the State Championship this Saturday!  Hats off to Coach Rudnicki, but more importantly to our young men, who bought-in, pushed themselves well beyond their comfort zones, and proved that even a small school can achieve outstanding results with relentless work and belief in something greater than themselves.  Well done, Guardians!”

SMA Athletic Director and Cross Country Coach Larry Rudnicki added, “Winning our first Regional Championship is a remarkable milestone for our distance program and our school!  It reflects the tenacity and dedication of our guys, especially our veteran runners, who’ve trained for this for more than two full years.  They exemplify the ‘culture of excellence’ we’re building at SMA, using Athletics as a vehicle for developing virtue, preparing our students to flourish as young men and women, and to succeed in life.”

The Division-4 XC State Finals are this Saturday, November 7, at Michigan International Speedway, near Brooklyn. The Boys (Section 2) race is scheduled for 2:00pm.

Informed by a significant and growing body of supporting research, SMA is committed to remaining open for on-site learning and formation, whenever possible, five days per week.

For more information, please contact Dr. Brake at

Established in 2013, St. Michael Academy is the first Catholic high school in the Little Traverse area since 1972, and the region’s only Classical high school.  SMA strives to develop the next generation of American leaders by promoting a culture of excellence and instilling its students with the classical virtues of wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice, along with the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.

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