by Ben Murphy
Finishing in the top-10 in the state is certainly an accomplishment. The Clare boys’ cross country team did just that on Saturday, when they finished in ninth place out of 28 squads in an extremely windy Division 3 state championship race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
“We are more than pleased with our state finals appearance as we hit every goal from top to bottom,” head coach Adam Burhans said. “The times may not show it as it was probably the windiest state finals on record, but the guys found a way to power through the 30-plus mile per hour wind gusts and just finished well as a team.”
In a field of 259 runners, Brad White finished 17th with a time of 16:34. Nic Porter was 38th with a 17:07, Andrew Klaus was 46th at 17:20, Caidan Gaskill finished 167th at 18:27, William Warner placed 199th at 19:01, Ayden Barcia crossed the line 204th with a 19:05 and Neiko Ketchum was 208th at 19:11.
“We are the only team in the top-10 who brings back every runner, so the goals are set even higher next year,” Burhans said. “We are pleased with Brad White’s all-state performance and earning our team academic all-state, but it was the fierceness of this team to finish in the Top-10 that really impressed me. With a strong incoming freshmen class, they are poised to do great things next season.”
Clare also had freshman Olivia Forsberg qualify for the girls’ race. She finished in 69th place out of 252 runners, with a time of 20:54.
“Olivia ran a smart and strategic race on a rainy and windy day,” head coach Kyle McKown said. “She moved up a total of 60 spots from the one mile mark to the finish and ran a negative split (faster each mile) for every mile of her race. She gained valuable experience in her first trip to the state finals and has a bright future ahead of her.”