Profile: Skyline boys’ CC ran the team concept right into the history books

 
 

The Skyline boys’ cross country team capped off an outstanding season last Saturday by running into the school’s record books. The Eagles landed fifth overall at the MHSAA Division 1 state finals at Michigan International Speedway – the highest team finish at the state meet in program history.

Despite extremely wet and sloppy conditions at race time, the Eagles showed true grit with strong pack running wire to wire.

Skyline was led up front with a 36th-place finish by sophomore Hobbs Kessler (16:20), a new career best for 5K. Junior Thomas Young (16:24) and senior Jesse Edelstein (16:27) were close behind in 39th and 46th place respectively, securing crucial points in the team race.

Senior Keegan Oldani (16:31) closed hard over the final kilometer to place in the top 60, and junior Daniel Evans (16:54) rounded out the team scoring for Skyline.

Juniors Isaac Darragh (17:24) and David Evans (18:04) were Skyline’s final 2018 state team competitors.

“I’m pleased with fifth place,” said Skyline Coach Tom Voorheis. “The fact that we didn’t have an individual earn All-state accolades (top 30) is indicative of how strong our front pack of five guys is.”

Voorheis was very happy with the “toughness” the Eagles showed on race day.

“It was very difficult course conditions by the time of the D1 race,” he said. “But that’s the beauty of our sport – everyone has to deal with the same challenges when the gun goes off and it’s really about who has a good day on that day.”

At the beginning of the summer, the Eagles set a team goal of running top five as a team at the state meet. They finished seventh last year – at the time, the program’s best finish.

“We thought we had the right guys to improve upon that,” Voorheis said. “We believed that we were a top-five team going into the state meet, and with some luck potentially in the top three. We’re pleased with fifth place but are already hoping to continue the upward trajectory in 2019.”

This was a major transition year for the Skyline boys’ program after graduating a large group of seniors in 2018. But fantastic upperclassmen leadership beginning in the summer and plenty of talent and depth with 33 runners helped set the Eagles on the right course.

“We emphasized consistency and accountability from the start – whether or not a meet during a given week went our way, we were going to continue working and eye the next race as another opportunity,” Voorheis said. “We also very much preached the team nature of cross country throughout the year, specifically our margin from our first man to our fifth man. Throughout the fall the margin continued to dwindle, which goes to show how much our guys relied on each other and were racing for one another.”

Skyline had many highlights during the season, including:

  • First place as a team at Bret Clements Bath Invitational – first invitational win in program history.
  • Third place as a team at Portage Invitational – highest team finish at Portage in program history.
  • Second place in final team standings in SEC Red Division and five athletes named All-SEC – most in program history.
  • Second place as a team at Region 4 Championships including four athletes named All-Region – most in program history.
  • Fifth place as a team in MHSAA LP Division 1 State Finals – highest finish in program history
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