Napoleon boys cross country repeats as Cascades Conference champion
Provided by Jackson Citizen Patriot
Lindsey Burdette said farewell to the Cascades Conference in grand fashion Wednesday.
Burdette became just the second runner to win the conference cross country meet four times, leading Hanover-Horton to a 12th consecutive league title.
Napoleon’s boys wrapped up their second straight Cascades championship on a chilly, rainy afternoon at Sharp Park.
Both the Hanover-Horton girls and Napoleon boys were unbeaten in Cascades dual meets and captured the league meet as well. Each counts half toward the final standings.
Hanover-Horton put four runners in the top eight and scored 30 points to win the girls meet over Napoleon’s 61 and Manchester’s 66. That was the way they finished in dual meets as well.
Napoleon had an impressive split of just one minute between its first and seventh runners while scoring 48 points. Michigan Center, third in dual meets, took second with 75 points to pull into a second-place tie with Hanover-Horton, third in the meet with 87 points.
There was power in the pack for the Napoleon boys, who were led by sophomore Kyle Allen in third place in 17:26. Adam Bauer was the seventh Pirate to finish, and he was 17th in 18:26.
“We’ve been stressing about the team running as a pack where all seven guys are important, and I thought we did a great job of that,” Napoleon coach Jim Dutton said.
Dalton Moulton was fifth for Napoleon, and the Pirates had Kiley Albert 12th, Chris Beckman 13th, Brian Dillon 15th, Ryan Silvestri 16th and Bauer. Those last five were bunched within 18 seconds.
“They set a few goals, and this was one of the main ones,” Dutton said. “The guys have worked hard. The three captains, Beckman, Moulton and Dillon, have done a good job. They’ve kept the group together. I told them, go out and take what you deserve. You have to run on the right day, on the competitive day, and that’s today.”
Even in the worst weather of the season.
“Mental toughness comes into play,” Dutton said. “You just have to go out and do it. It’s the same for all the runners. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. When it’s a day like today, throw (the times) out, you’re running for places.”
The miserable conditions didn’t bother Hanover-Horton’s Bryce Stroede — quite the opposite. Stroede won the boys race in 16:16.
“I love this weather,” Stroede said. “My dad calls me a mudder because I like running in the rain and mud. It’s fun.”
Stephan Biggs of Addison, the only runner to beat Stroede in a league dual meet this fall, led the first half of the race before Stroede passed him and went on to win by 15 seconds.
“I thought Bryce ran a really smart race,” Blackledge said.
“I wanted to take him before the two-mile, and that’s what I did,” said Stroede, who was second in the league meet last year. “I love this course. It’s my favorite course by far. I ran my best time here, and I love running here.”
Ben Utz of Michigan Center was fourth, Manchester’s Matt Kemner was sixth, Grass Lake’s Paul Rankin seventh and Michigan Center’s Brandon Bristow eighth.