ACME — John Lober could barely speak to his team after Saturday’s Division I boys cross country regional.
The longtime TC Central head coach was just too emotional after the Trojans captured the regional title on the course at Grand Traverse Resort and earned a trip to the state finals.
“When we won it just all came out on the surface,” said Lober, who was still wiping tears from his cheeks even after his team had left the post-meet huddle. “I get a little teary-eyed here or there, but it just all came out and I could hardly talk to them. I know all these kids and they’re such great kids.”
Behind the performance of regional champion Kyle Dotterrer, Central had three of the top six runners and scored 47 points. Rockford was second with 64 and Traverse City West was third with 80. All three teams punched their tickets to next week’s state meet at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
“I knew we had the kind of team that could do what they did today, but I knew it was going to be very difficult,” said Lober, who has guided the Trojans to eight regional crowns. “I’ve been on this course for three weeks and I knew it was going to be one son-of-a-gun going around this. It was getting tougher and tougher, muddier and muddier. We were the eighth race. You don’t know how a couple of kids were going to hold up. They all ran so good at the same time.”
It started with Dotterrer, one of only two seniors in the Trojans’ top five. He finished in 16:35 on a course that was wet and sloppy and with chilly temperatures made even more tough by huge gusts of wind.
“I wasn’t thinking of myself necessarily winning it,” said Dotterrer. “I knew where I wanted to be with a mile to go. I said, ‘if I’m there, it’s a guts race. We’ll see if we can pull it out.’ I knew where we’d be as a team and that we’d all just work together.”