The Skyline boys’ cross country team tied for first place at the Division 1 Region 4 race on Saturday as the Eagles landed at the top of the leaderboard with 52 points at Hudson Mills in Brighton.
Okemos also finished with 52 points while Brighton took third with 65 points.
The top three teams qualify for Saturday’s state finals at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
“That was the best race we’ve had as a team,” said an elated Skyline coach Takashi Gould.
And like a race, sometimes the path you travel isn’t always a straight line but all that matters is where you end up. And the Eagles ended up at the top.
“We had a bit of a revolving door this season with the lineup because of injuries, so they probably flew a bit under the radar,” Gould said. “But now everyone is looking to be in good shape and most importantly their confidence is very high and in a healthy place.
“We are very excited to see what we can do on Saturday.”
Dexter took fourth with 117 points followed by East Lansing (140), Hartland (152), Holt (160) and Pinckney (222) in the 14-team field.
The Eagles were led by super senior Anthony Giannobile, who took first place overall with a time of 15 minutes, 25.2 seconds.
The individual race was almost as close as the team standings and only fitting it came down to Skyline and Okemos. Giannobile beat out Okemos senior Paul McKinley for first place. McKinley was right on Giannobile’s heals, finishing less than a second behind at 15:26.4.
“Yeah, that was a great battle up front,” Gould said. “Anthony led a ton early on but you could see the Okemos kid really closing the gap and even took the lead for a few meters with maybe 600 meters left, but in a race that close Anthony isn’t going to let up on the gas at the end.”
His pedal to the medal was the difference.
The Eagles placed all five guys in the top 20, including four in the top 12.
After Giannobile, junior Tristan Williams ran 16:17.9 to finish in ninth place. Junior Jesse Edelstein took 11th in 16:19.6 with teammate Justin Michele, a senior, right behind him in 12th at 16:21.6.
Sophomore Daniel Evans was 19th in 16:39.3.
Also running strong for the Eagles were junior Keegan Oldani (47th, 17:37.5) and senior Liam Smith (48th, 17:38.7).