There are 27 girls and 33 boys on the cross country roster this season. First-time Cross Country Head Coach Norman Petersimes said the team as a whole has hit the track running, especially the returning players.
“The biggest strengths for both teams is leadership. Both squads have upperclassmen that lead by example and can pass down traditions, as well as a fantastic work ethic to the younger runners. The upperclassmen have been a blessing for me as a first-year coach, making the transition very smooth and easy,” said Petersimes.
The teams’ top-goal this season is to qualify for the state finals, which will be held at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) track in Brooklyn, Michigan in November.
“Both teams are focusing on identifying which teams we need to compete against to reach our goal of qualifying to the State Finals. We continually focus on improving our race strategy built on mental toughness, patience, and finishing strong,” Petersimes said.
On the boy’s side, Petersimes named returning junior Dominic Bruce, who is one of the county’s returning runners, as a stand-out athlete. “(Dominic is a) very intelligent racer, as well as a team leader. He leads by example,” said Petersimes.
The coach also takes pride in senior Riley Feeney. “(Riley) has made a great improvement this year after an excellent track season this past spring. He uses his 800-meter speed to finish strong in cross country races,” he added.
On the girl’s side, Petersimes listed junior Bridget Cusick, Molly Long, and Kerstin Hufstedler as front-runners.
“(Cusick) is very determined and competitive on the cross country course. She always looks to pass at the end. Molly and Kerstin are two of our top returning athletes from last year. As sophomores, they already run like veteran upperclassmen. They usually work as a pair at practice and out on the course during meets, pushing each other and other teammates at all times,” Petersimes said.
“I am very honored and privileged to coach such a talented group of young athletes, I look forward to watching them grow as athletes, students, and citizens,” added Petersimes.
The team will face Waterford-Mott during an invitational at Hess-Hathaway Park on Sept. 30 at 3 p.m.