2017 MIDDLE SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS
2017 J-L CROSS COUNTRY MEETS
Wednesday, August 30th at East Jordan
Saturday, September 9th at Charlevoix - 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, September 23rd at Central Lake - 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, October 5th at Mancelona - 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 11th at Mancelona - Ski Valley Cross Country Meet - 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 14th at Fairview - 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, October 28th, at Gaylord (Regionals) - 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, November 4th, (Cross Country State Finals) - Time TBA
Gascho's top-10 finish at state final a boon for Cardinals' running team
BROOKLYN – Carlos Gascho is poised to have a bright future with the Johannesburg-Lewiston boys cross-country team.
The freshman wrapped up a tremendous fall by placing seventh in the Division 4 state championship Saturday at Brooklyn International Speedway. He finished in 16:43.
The Cardinals placed 15th out of 28 teams.
The top-10 effort was the most exciting moment of 2017 for Gascho, who was the individual Ski Valley champion and a second-place finisher at the D4 regional earlier this season.
"It means a lot," he said. "I was excited to finish in the top 10 as a freshman. It was very exciting.
"I felt I had a pretty solid year. Winning the Ski Valley title meant a lot and regionals was a big one, too. But at states, that was the biggest win for me because it was exciting to finish in the top 10."
Gascho almost finished outside of the top 15, but he was fortunate enough to pick off some runners in the final mile.
His initial goal was to draft behind Fairview senior Tylor Ross, who placed fourth with a time of 16:33, but Ross gained some distance on him early in the race.
After 2 1/2 miles, Gascho found himself in 15th place while running downhill. At the bottom of the hill, he felt like he had plenty left in the tank, so he began passing runners.
"Once I went downhill, I felt good, so I felt I could speed it up and pick off more people," he said.
Gascho said he appreciated being around the spectacle that is the state championship. There were several fans and competitors around, and he enjoyed that. He also liked having a team meal the night before with his friends and classmates.
His coach appreciated his effort as well.
"Kids like him and (freshman Sydney Townsend), they just refuse to lose. They refuse to let somebody beat them, and they always give it their all. I'm super proud of him."
Also competing for the Cardinals was senior Nathan Idalski, who placed 77th after crossing the finish line in 18:00.
Gavin Weaver (18:25), Gage Boughner (18:54), Jack Perry (18:55), Danny Mackowiak (20:29) and Tyler Helzer (22:19) also contributed.
The finish was special for DeHoog because his first season as coach was four years ago when Idalski, Mackowiak and Helzer were freshmen. Back then the team was a club program that didn't receive full funding from the school and was hardly getting by with its small, young roster. Now the fourth-year coach has built a program at J-L.
"It couldn't have made me any prouder to be their coach than to see them there," DeHoog said. "They've all worked hard, and it was a great accomplishment for them.
"As freshmen four years ago, we were in last place or at the bottom of every meet. To go to being really competitive and making the state final, that's a great accomplishment for them and the school. To watch them run was like icing on the cake and just a joy to see them run."
Townsend, the reigning individual SVC champion, finished 80th in the girls state championship. The freshman completed the course in 21:38.
Senior Alyssa Bartle (23:18) also ran for the Cardinals.
"For Alyssa, what a great way for her senior year to end by making it back there again," DeHoog said. "And for Sydney, as a freshman, she finished in the top third of the field. To already be in the top third as a freshman is great."
"I just think he's an amazing talent as a runner," coach Craig DeHoog said. "He's very competitive and very driven. Overall, he's a good kid.
GAYLORD – Carlos Gascho was met at the finish line with the same trash talk and jokes he's heard all his life from Tylor Ross.
The two were teammates at Fairview until Gascho transferred to Johannesburg-Lewiston this past school year. Had Gascho stuck around, Fairview would have been a premier boys cross-country team in Division 4 this fall. Instead, they were on different teams, which made for an exhilarating finish at the regional meet Saturday at Michaywé Pines Golf Course.
Ross, a senior, finished in 16:37 to claim an individual regional championship and edge his freshman counterpart by seven seconds. Gascho settled for second place and a 16:44 finish.
"We were going to be teammates this year, so it's super fun to beat him, especially because he runs for another team now," Ross said.
"Hey, hey!" Gascho responded. "Come on!"
"I hope the back of my shirt looked good," Ross said.
"Yah. The back of your shirt did look good," Gascho scoffed.
Ross said he first knew Gascho was special when they started playing pickup basketball against one another when Gascho was still at Fairview.
That competitiveness eventually spilled over to cross-country practices. When Gascho was in middle school, he'd run with the high schoolers and push Ross to become a better runner.
There was no questioning how much that friendship benefited both of them Saturday, as they both claimed all-region honors and qualified for the state final meet Saturday, Nov. 4 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
"He's got a ton ahead of him," Ross said. "He's a freshman. I'm a senior. That's obvious, but he's got so much going for him that it's ridiculous.
"Yeah, I'm bummed (we're not teammates), but at the same time, Joburg is traditionally slower than Fairview, so he's got his own legacy to make over there, so I think he'll do a great job."
Ross said he knew he'd run away with the regional title but didn't expect Gascho to be on his heels so early. Around 1/3 of the way through the race, Gascho was putting up a fight. Ross pulled away late.
"That didn't surprise me at all," Ross said. "Playing one-on-one basketball with him, you can see just how tough someone is. Cross-country, toughness matters more than maybe any other sport, in my opinion.
"When you can see that kind of toughness in someone, (you know they're good). He gave me a big push (during the race), and I was trying to lay on the jets, so that just shows how tough he is. I'd probably run a lot slower if it weren't for him."
Added Gascho: "Being second in the region means a lot as a freshman. If it weren't for Tylor, I probably would have stuck with (St. Mary senior Brendan Delaney) instead of sticking with him, so that means a lot."
The Cardinals, who are coming off their first Ski Valley championship in school history, placed third to qualify for the state final as a team.
Senior leader Nathan Idalski (17:15) earned an all-region nod by placing fifth individually, while Danny Mackowiak (18:23) was 18th. Also for J-L was Gage Boughner (18:46), Jack Perry (18:52), Gavin Weaver (19:15) and Tyler Helzer (19:18).
Idalski stayed in the top five while battling his good friend and close rival Delaney, who crossed the finish line in 17:09 to place third, just behind Gascho. Both Idalski and the senior Snowbird qualified for their second-straight state final meet. A story in the Friday, Nov. 3 edition of the Herald Times will preview what's on the line for both Idalski and Delaney in their final high school meet.
The Snowbirds didn't have enough runners to qualify as a team, but they received assistance from Jimmy Pandy (19:16), Kyle Brown (23:37) and Justin Breckow (25:05).
Snowbirds' Bebble gets back to state final
• The pouring rain leading up to the regional impacted Averi Bebble's training.
Fortunately for the St. Mary senior, she had her weightlifting to fall back on.
Bebble (21:05) placed seventh in the D4 girls meet Saturday at Michaywé Pines to become her team's lone state qualifier. She finished on the all-region team.
"I haven't run since Tuesday," Bebble said. "We could only run inside because of the rain, so I didn't get to run Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. We ran in the (high school) halls because it was pouring rain and freezing."
Bebble, who narrowly missed qualifying for the state final as a junior, is a dual-sport athlete, so she said the
weightlifting she does with her volleyball team has helped her add strength over the course of the season.
"I'm surprised I'm not as tired as I thought I'd be," she said. "We've been lifting in volleyball, and then we run after school. We lift after volleyball, so I feel I'm just getting stronger and more in shape."
Also running for the Snowbirds were Summer Sullivan (24:48) and Brooke Monusko (27:00).
Townsend, Bartle heading to state final for burgeoning Cardinals' program
• Sydney Townsend upset the field when she beat Bebble and Pellston's Alice Principi to win the individual Ski Valley championship two weeks ago.
The freshman said the cold weather, which dropped as low as 40 degrees, kept her from upsetting the two seniors once again Saturday at Michaywé Pines.
"It was so cold," said Townsend, who crossed the finish line in 21:31 to take ninth place and qualify for the D4 state final. "I couldn't even move my legs like I usually do. I just felt like I had lead in my legs.
"It's so cold, and it's not what we're used to running in. It was hard to breathe with the cold air. My goal was to beat the girls I usually do. I had my goal planned out but couldn't get it today."
But that's OK for a freshman who will be helped at the state final by the veteran experience of senior Alyssa Bartle, whose 21:53 time was good enough for 11th place and a trip to MIS as well. Both Townsend and Bartle made the all-region team.
"It's really exciting," Townsend continued. "We haven't had much of a big team the past previous years, but now we're going to states, and the boys won the conference.
"It's really become a big (deal). It hasn't really been anything big, but now people are showing up, and we have a ton of middle schoolers now. I think that's really cool to start having success here."
Joining the duo during the regional were Emma Johnson (24:14), Chloe House (25:50), Kamryn Kennedy (29:10), Elizabeth Eaton (29:13) and Holly Kussrow (30:45). The Cardinals placed fifth as a team.
Freshmen phenoms: Cardinals' Gascho, Townsend win SVC titles
MANCELONA – Johannesburg-Lewiston wouldn't be celebrating a pair of individual Ski Valley Championships in cross-country had Fairview had a baseball team for Carlos Gascho to play on.
The freshman recently transferred to J-L to take advantage of the school's award-winning academics, but it also offered him a chance to keep up with his passion for running.
Gascho (17:11) edged St. Mary senior Brendan Delaney (17:15), last year's SVC champion, by approximately 10 meters to claim the boys title, while J-L freshman Sydney Townsend blew away a pair of rival runners to take home the girls crown.
The Cardinals' boys team repeated as conference champions as well, scoring 31 points to beat Mancelona (50), St. Mary (86), Inland Lakes (87) and Onaway (110).
J-L (66) placed third in the girls race, but St. Mary didn't have enough runners to score. Inland Lakes (38) went on to win the meet, while Bellaire (59) was second.
Gascho's journey to becoming a champion was a long one. His parents moved to Fairview, but the school didn't have baseball. His dad convinced him to try track and field.
"And I started winning," Gascho said. "I liked it, and I kept on going with it."
After transferring to J-L, Gascho had instant success for its cross-country team, even edging Delaney in the season opener in East Jordan. However, he suffered a right calf injury while leaping over a log during the Charlevoix Mud Run just weeks later.
Gascho sat out two weeks as he was unable to train, and he wasn't feeling himself until the recent practices leading up to the SVC Championships.
Had Delaney not been there to push him during the meet Wednesday, Gascho is unsure where he would have placed.
"It's exciting," he said. "It was really exciting. Brendan really makes me dedicated and want to run (better). I want to run and do good, and he pushes me a lot. He makes me a better runner."
Helping the Cardinals win the conference title were Nathan Idalski (18:01), Gavin Weaver (18:49), Gage Boughner (19:04), Danny Mackowiak (19:05) and Jack Perry (19:50), who each placed in the top 15 and earned All-SVC honors.
Also breaking the 21-minute mark for J-L were Aaron Latuszek (20:38), Cody Layman (20:51) and William Carey (20:56).
Delaney and Jimmy Pandy (15th place, 19:54) each picked up All-SVC honors, while Kyle Murphy (20:08), Hayden Collins (21:47) and Kyle Brown (24:45) each finished for the Snowbirds.
In the girls race, Townsend said she felt tired leading up to the 2-mile mark and was trailing Pellston's Alice Principi and St. Mary's Averi Bebble.
"But as soon as the 2-mile came, I felt like I was feeling good again, so I told myself, 'I got heart. I can do this!' she said. "I just went after them on the hills.
"Once I was in front of them, I was like, 'I can do this!' I just kicked it in after that."
Townsend (21:34) got past Principi (21:55) and Bebble (21:59) to win her first-career meet.
"I can't believe it," she said. "I've never beat the St. Mary girl or the Pellston girl. They've always been really far ahead of me."
Townsend credited J-L's coaches with helping her get prepared for the meet. Earlier in the season, the team ran distance workouts and up-hill programs. Lately, they've been practicing sprints to improve their speed.
The freshman didn't think those workouts would improve her time so quickly.
"I'm (at a loss for words) right now," she said. "I never thought this would happen."
Townsend said she had no time celebrate following the win because she had to get to equestrian practice, as she and Taylor Peterson will represent the Cardinals in the Michigan Interscholastic Horse Association state final this weekend.
Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, Townsend will realize what she has accomplished this fall.
"I just never thought this would happen," she said. "I thought maybe top 10 or top 20, but I never thought this would happen.
"It means a lot to me, especially because my coaches are really, really supportive. During the race, they really encourage me and just give me the energy to finish."
Alyssa Bartle (23:10) placed 10th to join Townsend across the finish line and take home an All-SVC nod. Emma Johnson (25:48), Chloe House (25:49) and Madison May (28:28) each broke 30 minutes for the Cardinals.
St. Mary's Bailey Murrell (22:53) finished seventh to garner All-SVC honors. Summer Sullivan (25:36) and Brooke Monusko (29:07) also competed for the Snowbirds.
J-L seventh-grader Layla Gascho (12:46) won the middle school race, followed by St. Mary sixth-grader Miriam Murrell (13:12) in second place.
4 Otsego County runners place in top 10 at Central Lake meet
CENTRAL LAKE – St. Mary seniors Brendan Delaney and Averi Bebble led the Snowbirds with a pair of top-five finishes in the Hot Dog Cross-Country Invitational held Saturday at Burns' Farm.
Delaney (17:06.4) placed second, only losing to Fairview's Tyler Ross by 11 seconds in the 5K boys race.
St. Mary didn't score as a team, but Jimmy Pandy (20:27), Kyle Murphy (21:42) and Kyle Brown (24:50) each helped Delaney.
Bebble (22:01) took fourth in the girls race, while Bailey Murrell (22:57), Brooke Monusco (32:13) and Mary Makarewicz (33:40) each joined her across the finish line.
The Johannesburg-Lewiston boys team placed fourth out of 11 teams thanks to a seventh-place effort from senior Nathan Idalski, who completed the race in 17:59.
Rounding out the Cardinals' top seven were Gavin Weaver (18:51), Danny Mackowiak (18:53), Tyler Helzer (20:04), Jack Perry (20:37), Aaron Latuszek (21:14) and Cody Layman (21:28).
A fifth-place finish from Sydney Townsend (22:14) helped the J-L girls team finish sixth.
Alyssa Bartle (23:49), Chloe House (26:26), Emma Johnson (26:19), Madison May (29:54), Elizabeth Eaton (32:54) and Kamryn Kennedy (34:11) also scored for J-L.
Delaney wins Inland Lakes meet; J-L takes 2nd as a team
NDIAN RIVER – This one was special for St. Mary senior Brendan Delaney (17:15), who won a cross-country invitational Tuesday hosted by Inland Lakes.
Last year, Delaney picked up his first career win at that particular meet, so repeating left him with a smile on his face.
"Today, it was a great memory, and it was a great flashback," the senior said. "Winning tonight was a great achievement.
"I was really excited because this was one of the easier courses of the season. It's not a big meet, but it's one wa lot of Ski Valley competitors are at, so I was excited to see how I would do against them."
Delaney also did quite well against Boyne City, a Lake Michigan Conference team that has standout runner Cliff Maginity (second place,17:59), who Delaney had to pass during the race.
"About 3/4 of a mile into the race I was in second place, and then I passed Cliff Maginity," Delaney said. "Once I passed him, I said, 'Let's put as much distance between me and him as I can.'
"This year, I've come to love running, and I've loved to race people and challenge myself, so I had a mental smile when I passed him because that was exciting. I just loved the thrill of it all."
Boyne City won the meet, followed by Johannesburg-Lewiston, Onaway, Mancelona and Inland Lakes.
St. Mary didn't have enough runners to place as a team.
Also running for the Snowbirds were Jimmy Pandy (20:22), who placed 14th, Kyle Brown (24:01) and Justin Breckow (28:410).
The Cardinals picked up another second-place trophy thanks to five top-15 finishes, including Nathan Idalski (18:23) taking third.
Gavin Weaver (19:09) was eighth, Danny Mackowiak (19:43) took 11th, Tyler Helzer (19:52) was 13th and Jack Perry (20:31) finished 15th.
Also helping the Cardinals were Aaron Latuszek (20:47) and Nathan Lawrence (21:37).
Boyne City placed first in the girls race, followed by Inland Lakes and J-L.
Sydney Townsend (22:09) and Alyssa Bartle (23:37) paced the Cardinals with fifth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively.
Emma Johnson (26:48), Chloe House (28:51), Destiny Sherbonda (29:08), Madison May (30:33), Elizabeth Eaton (32:13) and Kamryn Kennedy (32:18) also ran for J-L.
Averi Bebble (21:49) placed fourth to lead the Snowbirds, while Bailey Murrell (22:38) took seventh.
Summer Sullivan (24:21), Brooke Monusko (32:32) and Mary Makarewicz (34:45) also finished for St. Mary.
Both Cardinals teams take 4th at House on the Hill Invite
ELLSWORTH – The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls and boys cross-country teams held strong against a competitive field Saturday.
Both squads placed fourth out of six teams in the Class B and C division of the annual House on the Hill Invitational.
Sydney Townsend (22:01) led the girls with a sixth-place effort. Alyssa Bartle (24:55) crossed the finish line in 24th place.
Assisting the Cardinals were Emma Johnson (27:46), Chloe House (32:15), Holly Kussrow (33:39), Kamryn Kennedy (34:53) and Elizabeth Eaton (35:06).
In the boys race, Nathan Idalski (18:30) paced the Cardinals with an eighth-place finish, while Danny Mackowiak (19:21) finished 15th.
Also helping J-L were Gavin Weaver (20:28), Jack Perry (20:29), Nathan Lawrence (21:36), Aaron Latuszek (21:44) and Cody Layman (21:54).
Cardinals' boys claim 3rd place trophy at Charlevoix Mud Run
CHARLEVOIX – The Johannesburg-Lewiston boys cross-country team has another trophy to add to its collection.
The Cardinals placed third in the Charlevoix Mud Run on Saturday, finishing behind only Ellsworth and East Jordan in the 19-team small school division race. St. Mary placed 11th.
Nathan Idalski (18:36) paced the Cardinals by taking 13th, while Gage Boughner (19:28) finished 17th.
Also helping J-L were Tyler Helzer (19:31), Gavin Weaver (20:02), Danny Mackowiak (20:04), Jack Perry (20:14) and Aaron Latuszek (21:16).
Sydney Townsend (22:40) placed 16th to push the J-L girls team to a seventh-place finish in the 17-team meet that Ellsworth also won.
Emma Johnson (25:29), Alyssa Bartle (25:34), Chloe House (27:32), Madison May (29:47), Elizabeth Eaton (33:15) and Kamryn Kennedy (34:01) also ran for the Cardinals.
Sports Roundup: Gascho, Delaney share photo finish at East Jordan meet
EAST JORDAN – It was an exciting finish for a pair of Otsego County runners at a 12-team cross-country invitational Wednesday.
Johannesburg-Lewiston's Carlos Gascho edged St. Mary's Brendan Delaney by a 10th of a second for second place individually. Both crossed the finish line in 17:23.
J-L went on to score 108 points for fourth place, while St. Mary totaled 221 for ninth.
Joining Gascho across the finish line was Nathan Idalski, who placed 13th after running an 18:45. Gage Boughner (20:03), Gavin Weaver (20:07), Danny Mackowiak (20:11), William Carey (21:00) and Jack Parry (21:11) also helped the Cardinals.
Assisting the Snowbirds were Jimmy Pandy (20:37), Kyle Murphy (20:46), Kyle Brown (24:01) and Justin Breckow (30:37).
In the girls race, St. Mary's Averi Bebble was eighth individually after clocking in at 22:04. Summer Sullivan (25:44) was the only other Snowbirds to race.
J-L placed sixth (171 points) following an 18th place effort from Sydney Townsend, who finished in 23:28. Alyssa Bartle (24:40), Chloe House (25:44), Emma Johnson (27:17), Destiny Sherbonda (30:06), Madison May (33:56) and Holly Kussrow (34:40) each raced for the Cardinals.
Cardinals win Mancelona invite; Snowbirds' Delaney individual champion
MANCELONA – The Johannesburg-Lewiston cross-country team was unsure how fast it would run in its first 5K of the fall.
But the Cardinals knew they'd bring plenty of energy to compete for first place, and that's just what they did. Three Cardinals placed in the top 10, and J-L went on to beat Boyne City, host Mancelona, and Onaway during an invitational Saturday.
Carlos Gascho (18:16) placed second, Nathan Idalski (19:01) took fifth and Gavin Weaver (19:31) finished eighth.
St. Mary's Brendan Delaney was the overall champion, placing first in 18:06 in his debut race of the season.
"Going into today's meet, I knew the team had a lot of energy," Idalski said. "Since this was our first 5K of the season, we were expecting our pacing to be a little off. Our saving grace was the tremendous amount of encouragement from the families and teams that attended this event.
"To be a runner and know that the support will always be there is something that I hope we all learn to appreciate. I think this is what makes cross-country such a delightful experience."
Also placing in the top 20 for the Cardinals were Gage Boughner (19:46), Danny Mackowiak (20:02), Tyler Helzer (21:21) and Aaron Latuszek (21:29).
William Carey (22:18), Nathan Lawrence (22:29), Spencer Townsend (23:18), Vince Hummer (23:19), Cody Layman (23:23), Kyle Robbins (24:12), Elijah Fisher (24:31) and Zeek Lindbert (33:53) joined J-L across the finish line.
Delaney and Gascho ran side by side each other for most of the race. Delaney managed to pass the freshman during the final 150 meters, but then some trouble ensued.
"Just after I passed him, he slipped in the sand, and I turned to make sure he was OK," said Delaney, a senior. "Once I realized he was, I sprinted to the finish line. Of course, I was nervous, but after crossing the finish line, I was relieved."
Jimmy Pandy (21:26) and Kyle Murphy (21:50) finished in the top 20 for the Snowbirds, who were helped by Kyle Brown (26:05) and Justin Breckow (29:37).
Thanks to a seventh-place effort by Sydney Townsend (23:09), the J-L girls team finished third out of five teams. Alyssa Bartle (25:39) placed 16th. Also assisting the Cardinals were Emma Johnson (28:51), Holly Kussrow (33:26), Elizabeth Eaton (33:27) and Kamryn Kennedy (33:48).
St. Mary didn't score as a team, but Averi Bebble (22:32) placed fourth overall. Bailey Murrell (24:00) was 10th, while Summer Sullivan (27:08) took 26th.
Cardinals receive 'morale booster' after taking 5th at Ryan Shay meet
CENTRAL LAKE – Nathan Idalski always considers the Ryan Shay Memorial Cross-Country Invitational to be a morale booster.
You could say the morale is quite high for Johannesburg-Lewiston following the season-opener Saturday at Burns' Farm.
Idalski, a senior, placed fourth individually and led the Cardinals' boys team to a fifth-place finish in the stacked Division 4 field, while two other teammates finished in the top 25.
The girls team placed seventh thanks to a top-15 effort from freshman Sydney Townsend.
"My main concern was to have fun competing with a team that is willing to work just as hard as I am," Idalski said. "I always view this meet as a morale-booster to kick off the season."
Idalski, who will be gunning for an individual Ski Valley championship this fall, said his goal was to hit 11:00. He couldn't pull it off, crossing the finish line of the 2-mile race in 11:19.5.
But he still managed to have fun with his teammates.
"I knew that this particular (meet) has grown tremendously since I first ran it, so running it for a fifth year was a refreshing experience for me," he said. "Having more familiar faces at the start line helped out a ton as well."
Gage Boughner was 17th (12:05.1), while Gavin Weaver placed 25th (12.22.7). Helping the Cardinals in the 23-team meet were Danny Mackowiak (12:28.7), Cody Layman (13.57.9), William Carey (14:17.1), Vince Hummel (14:33.6), Elijah Fisher (14:43.6), Spencer Townsend (15:30) and Zeek Lindbert (20:03.4).
"It was exciting to see three runners in the top 25," said coach Craig DeHoog, who guided J-L to its first SVC title in school history in 2016. "Based on our fifth-place finish, it appears we'll be competitive this season. Overall, it was a good tune-up."
Townsend finished in 14:31.1 to help the J-L girls score as a team, something it couldn't do last year with only three runners.
Joining her at the finish line were Alyssa Bartle (15:19.6), Chloe House (17:00.7), Madison May (17:46.8), Holly Kussrow (19:16.7) and Elizabeth Eaton (19:30.9).
The Cardinals compete in their first 5-kilometer race Saturday, Aug. 26, at Mancelona.