St. Michael Claims Two Runner-Up Finishes at Cross Country Regional

PETOSKEY – November 3, 2021 – St. Michael High School (SMHS), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, announced today that its Boys and Girls Cross Country teams each placed second at last weekend’s Division-4 Regional at East Jordan, qualifying both teams for this Saturday’s State Finals.

The Gentlemen finished close behind #1-ranked Johannesburg-Lewiston, 31 to 43, and well ahead of the other twelve participating schools, all of which were north of 80 points.  Results can be viewed at…

Sam Paga was Regional Champion for the second straight year in a season-best time of 16:35.  He was followed by Mac Moore, who ran a personal-best of 16:59 to finish fourth, and Zach Maendel, who finished tenth in 18:13.

Russell Vandermus and Levi Benzing rounded out the Guardians scoring, both registering personal-best times of 18:44, in 16th and 17th places.  Isaac Paga and Liam Nolan also competed for the Guardians, with Nolan beating his prior personal-best time by more than 100 seconds.

The Ladies’ runner-up finish was much tighter, as they squeaked past Gaylord St. Mary and Inland Lakes for second place, 88 to 93 to 99, respectively.  The #3-ranked Johannesburg-Lewiston team dominated the race, scoring just 25 points.  Results can be viewed at…

Jane Manthei established herself as one of the top runners in the Region, placing fourth in 20:51.  Emma O’Neil was also a medalist, placing 11th with a personal-best time of 22:05.

Anna Zielinski, Leah Schlickau, and Siobhan Weed completed the team scoring in 19th, 31st, and 39th places, respectively.  Clare Zielinski, along with Weed, turned in personal-best times.

Head Coach Larry Rudnicki commented, “I’m thrilled to take our first Ladies team to the State Finals.  It’s an accomplishment to qualify with an ‘all-rookie’ team and I’m hopeful that we can build our program upon this experience.  Jane has emerged as a strong contender to become the first female ‘All-Stater’ in school history!”

“Our Gentlemen return to the State Finals for the third-straight year, with not only an excellent shot at a third consecutive ‘Top Ten’, but a legitimate pathway to our best finish ever!  We remain strong upfront with Sam, Mac, and Zach, and as our ‘rookie’ 4th and 5th men continue their rapid improvement, we have considerable upside potential in a field which, much like last year, lacks dominant leadership.”

“I expect another very close, somewhat wild, high-scoring State Finals where seemingly small moves in the later stages of the race yield massive swings in team placement!  We can hardly wait for Saturday!”

Both teams wrap-up their seasons on Saturday at the State Finals at Michigan International Speedway, near Brooklyn – with the Division-4 Girls and Boys races at 9:30am and 10:50am, respectively.

St. Michael High School has emerged from the Covid crisis stronger and more vital than ever as it fully joins the Chesterton Schools Network, the largest and fastest-growing network of its kind in the country.  In light of the cultural turbulence of our times, SMHS welcomes all families who seek better education and faith formation for their teenagers and accepts transfers at any time during the academic year.

Established in 2013, the St. Michael mission is to nurture and elevate a new generation of joyful leaders educated in the Classical tradition and truth of the Catholic faith.

For more information on SMHS, please contact Dr. Brake at or 231-881-9026.

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