PETOSKEY – November 8, 2023 – St. Michael High School (SMHS), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, announced today that its Boys Cross Country (XC) team completed its late-season surge with another tremendous effort, placing fourth at Saturday’s Division-4 State Finals. It was the fifth consecutive ‘top ten’ finish for the Guardians at the State Finals and its third ‘top five’ landing in the last five years.
As expected, Hillsdale Academy won its second State title in the last three years, scoring 129 points. Also as expected, the race for second-place was both wide open and extremely close, with several teams within striking distance of a ‘top two’ podium finish.
Ultimately, it was Holland Calvary squeaking past Kalamazoo Hackett, 199 to 200, to claim the runner-up trophy – with St. Michael a very close fourth at 210. It was just as tight behind the Guardians, with the next three teams all within twenty points.
“What a finish!” shouted Guardians Head Coach Larry Rudnicki. “After a strong early race at East Jordan, we struggled through the mid-season grind, culminating with an uninspired showing at Portage a month ago. It was then difficult to imagine this late-season rally. We came to State ranked tenth, the highest we’ve been all season, and we missed the podium by just twelve points!”
Sophomores Lynus Cadarette (19th in 16:42.0) and Cody Bradley (21st in 16:42.3) led the team, both earning All-State honors.
They were followed by Russell Vandermus (56th in 17:30), Atticus Cadarette (73rd in 17:42), and David Chamberlin (142nd in 18:34). Ronan Weed and Elijah Pulver also competed for the Guardians. In team scoring, St. Michael claimed the 13th, 15th, 39th, 50th, and 93rd places for its 210 points.
“Accounting for course differences, Cody, Russell, and Atticus essentially repeated their strong Regional performances – while Lynus and David reached all-new levels. Lynus and David, as well as Ronan, all set impressive new personal records at State.”
It’s without question that St. Michael’s surprise finish would not have been possible without Harbor Light soccer star David Chamberlin. (St. Michael XC is a Co-op with Harbor Light.)
“What a blessing it was to have David join us – not merely for his athleticism, but for his seamless integration into our team culture. Our guys are tenacious competitors and he fit right in! Together, they ‘attacked’ on Saturday, fearlessly, vigorously, and joyfully!”
Starting the day at Michigan International Speedway, the St. Michael Ladies XC team competed in the D-4 Girls race, finishing 26th with 580 points. Whitmore Lake comfortably claimed the team title, scoring just 78 points, with last-year’s winner, Johannesburg-Lewiston, placing second with 112.
Guardian leader Jane Manthei (also of Harbor Light Christian) placed tenth in 19:26, becoming the first-ever All-Stater and ‘top ten’ finisher for the St. Michael Ladies XC team.
Coach Rudnicki commented, “Jane followed her race plan impeccably, but had serious trouble in the final ‘K’. I was glad to see her hang on for tenth. Her climb through the increasingly difficult D-4 ranks – from 78th as a freshman, to 40th as a sophomore, to tenth this season – is the result of her dedication and perseverance through adversity. Her presence and example is a continuous blessing for our program.”
Veronica Paga (136th in 22:02) was next, followed by Kate Schlueter (197th at 23:49) who continued her torrid string of personal records, finishing the season nearly six minutes faster than where she began it. Addie Kolka, Ella Nolan, and Catherine Hayes also competed for the Guardians.
“What a memorable season we’ve had. Our Gents team couldn’t even manage to ‘finish five’ (for a team score) until mid-September, while our Ladies team often labored to acclimate several members for whom running was an entirely new endeavor. Even so, we persevered, we grew – and our rewards were pretty sweet!”
“I’d like to thank our awesome parents for their unrelenting encouragement and support this season, as well as Assistant Coach Nick Pulver and Athletic Director Ian Provoast for their valuable camaraderie and help. I’d also like to thank our generous benefactors, without whom we wouldn’t have a program at all. Finally, ‘thanks be to God’ for a season immersed in His goodness. May the Lord continue to richly bless us! Go Guardians!”
St. Michael High School is High School with a Higher Purpose and a proud member of the Chesterton Schools Network, the largest and fastest-growing network of its kind in the country. 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 information on SMHS, please visit the school website at stmichaelchesterton.org.