Cross Country: Pioneer boys run away with Regional in dominating finish


In as dominating a performance as you will ever see in a Division 1 regional, the Pioneer boys’ cross country team took five of the top six spots to finish with just 19 points and run away with the Region 5 race on Saturday at Lake Erie Metropark.

Only Saline’s Anthony DeKraker, who took second overall, spoiled a clean sweep at the regional.

Saline was a very distant second with 58 points, which actually is a good score unless you compare it to something blazing like 19 points. Temperance Bedford was third with 99 points as the SEC Red took the top three spots which qualify for Saturday’s state finals.

Monroe (168) was fourth, Woodhaven fifth (175) and Lincoln Park sixth (206) in the 16-team field.

The Pioneers were led by Nick Foster. The speedy senior has led the pack all season and Saturday was no different. Foster finished in 15 minutes, 36.5 seconds, well ahead of DeKraker (16:08.3).

Then came four guys in purple right in a row.

Junior John Florence was third, only a few steps from second, with a time of 16:13.2. Senior Michael Shkolnik was fourth in 16:18.5. Right behind him was senior Aldo Pando-Girard who crossed in fifth in 16:19.8. And right behind him was senior Jack Wallace, who stepped over the line in sixth place in 16:21.1.

Pioneer also had two guys who don’t count in the final standings finish in the top 12. Who knows, maybe their B team would have qualified for states.

Junior Ethan Mielock was ninth in 16:26.9 and senior Philip Valtadoros was 12th in 16:33.0.

Saline was the only other school to have more than one runner place in the top 12 (two) while Pioneer had seven guys finish among the top dozen. Now that’s dominating a race.

The Pioneers should hit the starting line on Saturday as the favorites. The state finals are held at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

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