BROOKLYN — Hunter Jones might be the only state champion to be disappointed with his finals time.
Jones, Benzie’s sophomore cross country phenom, won the Division 3 state champion for the second year in a row with a time of 15:28 Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
He beat his winning time as a freshman of 15:45, but he felt like it wasn’t his best race.
“I didn’t have the fastest time I wanted,” Jones said.
Time aside, the accomplishment remains the same. Jones becomes just the second runner in state history to win a state title as a freshman and sophomore.
The only other is Central Lake’s Ryan Shay, who won every single race of his high school career following the third race of his freshman year from 1993 to 1997. That included four Class-D LP State Championships.
“He never looked shaken once,” Benzie coach Asa Kelly said of Jones’ race. “He increased his lead each mile. He had the second or third fastest kid in the race, so we knew that those were the guys who he’s going to have to beat.”
Jones led the whole race and had no runner behind him by the 400-meter mark. He noticed some runners in his peripheral after two miles, which he said motivated him to run faster.
“I was all by myself the rest of the race,” Jones said. “Coming out of the stadium, I could hear people behind me, but that faded by the mile mark and I was pretty much alone going up the hill. I could tell it started to fade after the first mile, so I decided to stride out after the two mile and turn.”
Manton’s Noah Morrow, Traverse City St. Francis’ Zealand Tarrant and Mancelona’s Tyler McClure all took all-state honors in the Division 3 boys race. Benzie’s Mylie Kelly (19:06) took all-state honors in the Division 3 girls race.
Makenna Scott wins Glen Lake’s first title since 2006
Glen Lake’s Makenna Scott and Lansing Christian’s Madison Volz were coming down to the wire.
Scott was out of breath. It was nearly 70 degrees radiated by the asphalt of the racetrack. That’s made it much warmer than usual for state finals in November, and the final 200-meters would be the ultimate test of endurance.
Volz collapsed as she was closing in on a win, and Scott felt like she was about to be next.
But as Scott passed Volz on the final stretch, she decided to finish even faster under the assumption Volz would try and reclaim the lead.
She crossed the finish line with a time of 19:30, a time in the second heat that was enough to hold up for the state championship. The Lakers’ last state champion was Marissa Treece in 2006. Volz recovered and finished 12th for all-state honors.
“I started to doubt myself but I realized I still got it in me,” Scott said. “I crossed and I actually didn’t know I won, I through another racer had a faster time than me, and when I found out it was just an amazing feeling.”
It was a moment spurred by the changes to the cross country finals because of the coronavirus pandemic. Runners ran in two waves of 120 runners unknown of their finish until the second would be over.
Scott joins teammate Ruby Hogan of Glen Lake for Division 4 girls all-state honors with Buckley's Aiden Harrand, Gaylord St. Mary’s Miriam Murrell and Ellsworth’s Maia Romeyn.
St. Francis boys take third
The Traverse City St. Francis boys finished with their best result in school history.
The Gladiators took third in Division 3 as a team with 182 points and an all-state finisher. Zealand Tarrant took 19th overall with a time of 16:45. Thomas Richards was five places away at 35rd with a time of 17:01.
The rest of the three Glads who scored points all had times that were under 17:30 and in the top-60 among qualified teams. Finn Ritchie raced for a time of 17:18, Bryson Ellalasingham finished right behind him at 17:19, Conner McIntyre finished with a time of 17:30.
St. Louis won the Division 3 state championship and Hart was runner-up. Charlevoix finished 21st among boys teams who qualified in Division 3.
St. Francis girls team finished 13th. The Glads had four freshman in the top-7 and had their front runner, Anna Nielson, fall a mile and three-quarters into the race. Nielson rallied back but fell short of all-state by four places with a time of 20:13.
MORE CROSS COUNTRY
DIVISION 3 BOYS
Benzie Central results: 1. Hunter Jones 15:28.9; 127. Craig Seger 18:05.9.
Manton results: 8. Noah Morrow 16:24; 121. Jonathan Traxler 17:58.
TC St. Francis results (3rd as team): 19. Zealand Tarrant 16:45; 35. Thomas Richards 17:01; 68. Finn Ritchie 17:18; 69. Bryson Ellalasingham 17:19; 82. Conner McIntyre 17:30; 86. Tucker Krumm 17:34; 105. Brandon Endres 17:49.
Elk Rapids results: 99. Lachlan Beebe 17:43; 161. Charlie Ward 18:27.
Charlevoix results (21st as team): 100. Sam Peterson 17:44; 118. Dominic Schwein 17:57; 130. Evan Beane 18:06; 150. James Descamps 18:19; 165. Josh Sauer 18:29; 188. Sam Dixon 18:49; 216. Jack Gaffney 19:25.
East Jordan results: 149. Phillip Nemecek 18:19.
DIVISION 3 GIRLS
Benzie Central results (5th as team): 8. Mylie Kelly 19:06; 37. Elise Johnson 20:21; 84. Madison Teichman 21:14; 89. Cierra Guay 21:22; 109. Hayley VanWagoner 21:37; 122. Ellen Bretzke 21:48; 141. Ella Gaylord 22:04.
Boyne City results: 20. Ava Maginity 19:53.
TC St. Francis results (13th as team): 34. Anna Nielson 20:13; 85. Ava Pomaranski 21:15; 121. Josie Gorman 21:48; 127. Abby Chittle 21:52; 143. Margot Hagerty 22:07; 147. Rylee Duffing 22:08; 165. Annie Paulson 22:32.
Charlevoix results (11th as team): 48. Annie Bergmann 20:34; 72. Megan Bush 21:04; 93. Rachel Descamps 21:24; 136. Laina Sladics 22:01; 146. Katie Rohrer 22:07; 202. Lauren Shepard 23:35; 204. Leah Rohrer 23:40.
Manton results: 52. Molly Harding; 95. Chloe Colton 21:27; 220. Madison Morris 24:36.
East Jordan results: 178. Christina Kooistra 22:47.
Elk Rapids results: 183. Sarah Zamaites 22:54.
DIVISION 4 BOYS
Forest Area results: 47. Phoenix Mulholland 18:05.
Buckley results (16th as team): 74. Jackson Kulawiak 18:30; 78. Jeremiah Pasbjerg 18:35; 123. Jacob Wicker 19:06; 136. Carson Kulawiak 19:16; 202. Ben Ducheny 20:34; 206. Braden Melville 20:42.
Boyne Falls results: 84. Tyler Gellis 18:41.
Frankfort results (22nd as team): 99. Logan Foster 18:52; 126. Adam Townsend 19:10; 201. Quincy Thayer 20:34; 221. Trevor Moody 21:25; 244. Andrew Holmes 24:22.
Bellaire results: 119. Ricky McMurray 19:03.
Glen Lake results: 150. Wyatt Pugh 19:28.
Joburg results (23rd as team): 162. Joe Perry 19:39; Blake Fox 20:04; 208. Logan May 20:50; 227. Spencer Townsend 22:10.
Ellsworth results: 180. Graham Oliver 20:01.
DIVISION 4 GIRLS
Glen Lake results (14th as team): 1. Makenna Scott 19:30; 10. Ruby Hogan 20:22; 140. Grace Fosmore 23:32; 198. Emma Korson 25:41; 205. Kate Blondia 26:12; 219. Sofia Brady 28:07; 226. Mayzie Dingman 29:05.
Gaylord St. Mary results: 20. Miriam Murrell 20:50.
Joburg results (8th as team): 39. Natalie Zochowski 21:17; 46. Adelaida Gascho 21:28; 86. Gloria House 22:17; 113. Sydney Townsend 22:50; 117. Madalyn Agren 22:56; 151. Lizzy Halbert 23:51; 203. Cora Mullins 26:00.
Buckley results: 5. Aiden Herrand 20:04; 40. Shelby Cade 21:19.
Frankfort results: 42. Taylor Myers 21:23.
Ellsworth results (11th as team): 43. Judith Veldboom 21:23; 52. Christy Figueroa 21:34; 145. Avery Strange 23:42; 165. Katie Cary 24:14; 194. Brooke Essenberg 25:24; 207. Emma DeYoung 26:16.
Forest Area: 48. Meagan Lange 21:32.
GT Academy results (19th as team): 120. Lexi Payne 22:59; 121. Petra Foote 23:00; 129. Katelynn Dix 23:16; 173. Danielle Cronin 24:21; 190. Alleah Dix 25:14; 210. Emily Page 26:24; 212. Madison Brown 26:36.
Bellaire results: 162. Jennifer Yung 24:03.
Lake Leelanau St. Mary results (26th as team): 171. Kendra Couturier 24:30; 193. Ciara Glynn 25:24; 195. Josie Gorcyca 25:34; 196. Amelia Dunham 25:36; 211. Lauren VanderWulp 26:24; 215. Delana Kirt 26:51.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct a reporters error. Buckley freshman Aiden Herrand finished fifth in the Division 4 girls race.