by Calli Newberry
Among several historically talented teams in the state such as Warren Regina and Flint Powers Catholic, the Blue Water Area’s top talent showed up to compete at the New Balance Mid-Season Spectacular despite the dreary weather at Goodells County Park on Saturday morning.
In the Big School division, North Branch and Marsyville were the only area teams to make it in the top five as a team, taking second and third place. Warren Regina won the meet with 84 points, while North Branch and Marysville had 104 and 111, respectively. Flint Powers and Fraser were fourth and fifth.
Marysville senior Reese Powers led the area with a season-best time of 20:06.4 to take fourth out of 83 runners. As one of the few to run her best time in the mud and rain, Powers said she used her positive mindset to carry her through the finish.
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“I always use it to my advantage,” Powers said. “Everyone has to run in the same conditions, so if I look at it as the best day ever and the best conditions, then I’m already ahead of 50% of the kids who are thinking it’s a bad day and it’s bad weather. It’s honestly a mindset for me.”
Powers and fellow senior Viking, Hannah Fisher, have been leading the area as a dynamic duo all season. On Saturday, Fisher placed seventh overall in 20:24.3, a ways off her season-best of 19:40.9.
“[Our training] has been going great. Hannah really pushed me…We honestly just work off of each other,” Powers said. “When I have a bad day she’ll pull me, and when she has a bad day I can pull her, and it’s great to have someone who pushes you when you’re really struggling. We both did pretty well, but today I just felt great going into it so I just had my mind on what I wanted to do today. I think she still did well, but I just had a better day.”
Another senior leader in the Blue Water Area hails from North Branch: Haileigh Bissett. She placed fifth overall at the New Balance Mid-Season Spectacular with a time of 20:08.8 leading her team to second place.
North Branch head coach Jason Castle said Bissett’s leadership on the team has set a great example for the other runners and he’s excited about what’s ahead for them, especially looking to tomorrow’s second BWAC Jamboree. In the first meet, Croswell-Lexington beat North Branch in a tie breaker, and on Saturday, the Broncos finished ahead of the Pioneers by 32 points.
“It’s good because Cros-Lex is one point ahead of us right now in the league. I know the girls have never won a league championship in school history, ever, so that’s what they’re working for. They want something and they’re showing it,” Castle said. “There were a couple PRs set in this rain. I’ve always said running is 90% mental and when you run some PRs in this weather, imagine what you can do in nice weather. They’ve got a shot at a team state and I think they realize how good this group of girls is.”
The only other Blue Water Area female runner to place in the top 10 was St. Clair junior Ava Pergitone who came in sixth overall in 20:19.6.
In the Small School division, Imlay City and Richmond represented the area with third and fourth-place finishes with 105 and 120 points, respectively. Imlay City was led by senior Elizabeth Sliman who had a strong finish for third in 21:05.0. She said Saturday’s rainy race was good practice for her and her teammates to work on their positive attitudes.
“I’m happy with [my race]…I actually prefer running in the rain, it cools me down more, so I was just like, ‘Okay, let’s go out and do this race and think positively,’” Sliman said. “I think we did well. It wasn’t really about place today. It was more about our times and keeping going and keeping ourselves moving.”
Sliman was accompanied by junior teammate Jenna Denver in the top 10 overall with a 10th-place finish in 21:38.3, which also happened to be a personal best time.
Marine City’s Casidhe Flesher, a sophomore, took seventh overall in 21:26.2, and Richmond sophomore Brianna Albers wasn’t far behind in eighth place with a time of 21:28.7.
The BWAC will be hosting the second of three total conference competitions for the 2021 season this Tuesday in Almont. The final league meet will be on Oct. 19 in North Branch. As for the MAC schools, they will compete the following week on Tuesday, Oct. 5, for the MAC Championships at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.