By Calli Newberry
Yale junior Lukas Kriesch has been leading the area all season with three individual victories. He has yet to run slower than 17 minutes for a 5K, and Saturday’s muddy race didn’t stop him from continuing this trend.
Seventeen schools from around the area and beyond competed at Goodells County Park on Saturday morning for the New Balance Mid-Season Spectacular. Schools were split into two divisions, “Big School” and “Small School,” and three Blue Water Area teams finished in the top five of the Big School division, while two placed in the top five of the Small School division.
In the Big School Division, St. Clair took second overall, edging Yale by five points. They had 75 and 80 points, respectively. The two rivals have only competed one other time this season at the Algonac Classic Invitational, where Yale won by 14. They will meet again on Oct. 7 at the Marysville Invitational.
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Port Huron Northern was not far out of the mix with a fourth-place finish with 83 points, despite missing one of its top runners, sophomore Luke Maher.
Kriesch finished third overall as an individual, leading the Bulldogs and the area, with a time of 16:55.7. He was nine seconds behind the winner from Flint Powers, who finished in 16:46.2.
“I just wanted to be smart, race smart, and I wanted to come out on top today, but that’s okay. It was very tough,” Kriesch said. “I just wanted to be smart and stay safe. I wanted to run the race and pace myself and put myself in a position for success.
He said he was happy with his time considering the conditions, calling the course a “slip and slide.” Kriesch also said Saturday will help prepare him for the second BWAC Jamboree on Tuesday.
“It’s very nerve racking being up front, I like it though. I like the pressure and I do like to lead the race, I just have to be smart about it,” he said. ‘If it’s wet again like this we know what to expect and as far as I go, mentaly I will be tougher if this rain keeps going and I’m just hoping to be on top again.”
Senior James Elling from Croswell-Lexington took fifth place overall in 17:03.4, just ahead of the close call between St. Clair junior Carter Boullard and Northern sophomore Luke VanderHeuvel. The two finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in 17:09.5 and 17:09.6.
Marysville also placed a runner in the top 10: senior Brock BenUyl. He crossed the line in 17:12.0 to take eighth. And rounding out the top runners from the area was Northern junior Micahel Paoletti who took 10th in 17:16.6.
In the Small School division, Richmond also brought home a second-place team finish with 68 points and Marine City finished fifth with 97.
Richmond was the only school to place individuals in the top 10, with senior Connor Germain taking fourth overall, and his senior teammate Evan Green in seventh. Germain’s time of 18:28.3 was only nine seconds off of her personal best of 18:19.5 set only a week earlier, proving his strength and consistency.
“It was really nice to be up near the front. Normally in races I fall right around the back of the front group so it was nice to be able to run the race I felt like I could be doing,” Germain said. “My friend Evan, he and I are normally back and forth, and he kind of fell back today. He said he had an injury.”
Despite an injury, Green still finished the race in 19:03.1. Germain said Saturday’s race gave him a new confidence.
“I think it’ll be really helpful at helping me understand how I want to run as I’m going and helping me build my own race instead of just following,” he said.
That will definitely come into play at Tuesday’s second BWAC Jamboree in Almont. This will be the second of three conference competitions for Richmond and fellow BWAC schools. As for the MAC, its conference championship will be the following Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.