Guys’ and girls’ cross country teams are headed to the state finals!

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Guys’ and girls’ cross country teams are headed to the state finals!

Dylan Marr (left) and Thomas Zacharko (right) both had a crucial part in St. Louis' win while running new personal bests.

Dylan Marr (left) and Thomas Zacharko (right) both had a crucial part in St. Louis' win while running new personal bests.

Courtesy Photo

Dylan Marr (left) and Thomas Zacharko (right) both had a crucial part in St. Louis' win while running new personal bests.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Dylan Marr (left) and Thomas Zacharko (right) both had a crucial part in St. Louis' win while running new personal bests.

Keegan Honig, Editor

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St. Louis cross country had a historic performance at regionals Friday, Oct. 25, at Uncle John’s Cider Mill. The Sharks ran exceptionally well to have both the guys’ and girls’ teams qualify for the state meet for the first time since 2004!

Coach Jay Puffpaff said, “It was a great day! The teams showed up and performed well. The guys pulled off the upset and were really impressive the last half-mile of the race.”

The boys’ team came into the meet ranked second in the stacked region trailing only Pewamo-Westphalia. However, the Sharks ran tough and competed at a high level to overcome the Pirates and take first-place overall by a margin of 14 points! St. Louis’ score of 80, Pewamo-Westphalia’s score of 94, and Montrose’s score of 97 earned all three programs a trip to the state meet. Qualifying individually for state by earning all-regional recognition was Nate March in seventh place with an outstanding time of 16:49.8 and Aaron Bowerman right behind in eighth at 16:52.3! Following for St. Louis was Joe Erickson (17:20.9) just missing qualifying placement in 16th, Thomas Zacharko (17:34.3) finishing 23rd, Austin Aldrich (17:46.3) in 26th place, Dylan Marr (17:56.1) finishing in 32nd, and Craig Bebow (18:36.0) in 51st place.

Aldrich shared, “We were going into the race treating it like a normal race. And we knew that we were ranked second, but it was a possibility that we could win.”

The girls also excelled taking third place with a score of 80 to qualify for states! This is now the second year in a row the girls’ team has qualified for the state meet! Earning all-regional were Libby Munderloh in third place with a fantastic time of 19:12.1 and Mikenna Borie in ninth coming in at 19:59.2. Next up for the Sharks were Mikaila Borie (20:40.0) in 22nd place, Sela Delgado (21:08.4) finishing 24th, Zoe Dickman (21:10.9) in 26th place, Payton Kuhn (21:28.5) in 30th, and Jenna Abell (21:30.5) finishing in 31st place.

Abell said, “The girls’ team did great at Uncle John’s. We pushed through a few hills and used our competition to push us. Everyone put in great effort, and it was a good day for the team!”

Sharks who ran PRs this meet include Zoe Dickman with a PR of 21:10.9, Dylan Marr breaking 18:00 with a new best of 17:56.1, Austin Aldrich with a new PR of 17:46.3, and Aaron Bowerman breaking the 17:00 mark for the first time with 16:52.3!

Dickman shared, “I was very proud of the whole girls’ team, and I think that we all showed up and put everything out on the course. I was personally happy about my PR and that we are going to the state meet for the second year in a row. I am so excited for the boys to go this year, and think it is going to be a great experience.”

St. Louis cross country will finish up its season at the state finals Saturday, Nov. 2, at Michigan International Speedway.