From Petoskey News-Review…

BROOKLYN — While many around the state might not have known about Petoskey St. Michael Academy on the cross country course just a handful of years ago, the Guardians have been doing a pretty good job introducing themselves.

After the school’s second top 10 finish at the Division 4 state championships last season, the Guardians turned in a third straight top 10 placing when they earned sixth overall as a boys team at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn Saturday.

St. Michael’s boys placed fifth in 2019, were ninth last season and again made waves Saturday.

The St. Michael girls also earned a 26th place finish as a team.

“As always, I’m proud of our ladies and gentlemen, the majority of whom have never competed in a state finals or anything remotely like it,” Petoskey St. Michael coach Larry Rudnicki said. “While yesterday was surely not our best performance, we celebrate a successful season in which we finished in a much better place than we started out. I congratulate our team members for their accomplishments and their families for being so supportive of our program.”

Hillsdale Academy won the boys Division 4 title with a first place finish in 154, while Concord looked second in 184. D4 favorite Johannesburg-Lewiston placed ninth overall after a handful of runners were forced to miss the race because of a COVID contact tracing issue.

On the girls side, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian earned a dominant first place finish with 98 points, followed by Kalamazoo Christian.

Leading for the St. Michael boys was Samuel Paga in ninth place overall, with a time of 16:50.75 to earn All-State. Macartan Moore also placed 17th for an All-State nod in 17:01.02.

Zachary Maendel of St. Michael was then 95th in 18:17, Russell Vandermus placed 124th (18:39); Levi Benzing, 159th (19:14); and Isaac Paga, 232nd (22:32).

Also from the area, Mackinaw City’s Lars Huffman picked up All-State honors after a 20th place finish in 17:03.17, while teammate Cooper Whipkey was 101st in 18:24.

Ellsworth also had Tyler DeYoung run as an individual and place 167th overall in 19:24.

On the girls side of the race, Jane Manthei led the Guardian girls with a 78th place finish in 21:33 and was followed by Emma O’Neil, 88th (21:45); Anna Zielinski, 189th (23:48); Leah Schlickau, 219th (26:00); Siobhan Weed, 230th (26:54); and Claire Zielinski, 238th (31:28).

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