Boys’ cross country wins the state title!


Courtesy Photo

The St. Louis boys celebrate a first-place finish at the state finals.

Keegan Honig, Editor

The St. Louis Sharks varsity boys’ cross country team had a historic performance Saturday, Nov. 7, at the MHSAA Division Three State finals held at Michigan International Speedway. The boys overcame all the adversity of this 2020 season to run their hearts out and win the state title! It was the first State Championship for the program in 15 years and only the third in St. Louis cross country history.

The boys’ team came into the meet ranked second behind Hart. However, the Sharks raced tough to finish with 103 points, 13 ahead of the top-ranked Pirates, to secure the win. It was a fairytale ending to an incredible season for the team.

The Sharks had four runners finish in the top 30 to earn All-State honors. This is the most All-State runners in one season in school history. Junior Aaron Bowerman finished ninth to lead the Sharks with a 16:26.66, senior Keegan Honig was 14th with a 16:35.00, junior Nate March finished 17th with a time of 16:39.47, and Ben March, the top-performing freshman in Divison Three, came through the finish line in 23rd place in 16:48.59. Rounding out the winning varsity squad was senior Joe Erickson in 87th place with a 17:35.34 finish, sophomore Dylan Marr in 138th with an 18:12.82, and senior Alex Davis in 205th place in 19:05.07.

Davis shared, “I honestly never thought I’d be at the state meet. The whole thing was just breathtaking, and it kind of felt unreal. It was the best way I could imagine ending my senior season.”

A key factor for St. Louis’ win was that of its top five, two ran career personal records (PR), and the other three were within four seconds or less of their season bests. Nate March ran a four-second career PR (12-second season record), and Ben March ran a 10-second personal best to help lead the Sharks to their first title since 2005.

Three of the varsity members were seniors, so a considerable portion of this squad’s manpower will be lost next year. However, the ever-improving remaining cast, along with the prospect of the up-coming freshmen, means St. Louis could easily be in contention for the title again next season.

It was an exciting finish to this team’s season, and though the team was thrilled about the win, Coach Jay Puffpaff was just as ecstatic. He shared, “It was a wild ride and a moment that I will never forget. This group was ready to seize the opportunity and executed perfectly. They ran for each other and left everything out on the course. The memories will be something we cherish for a lifetime.”

It was a season unlike any other, with ups and downs and plenty of uncertainties. However, the boys’ cross country team was able to get it done on the big stage and will always be remembered in St. Louis for bringing home the state championship.