Seven of the last 12 years, the average time of 16:52 achieved by Pewamo-Westphalia’s top five runners at state finals would have made them Division 4 state champions.
But in 2012, it earned the Pirates a third-place finish.
“Other coaches said this might have been the deepest Division 4 field ever,” said P-W’s Scott Werner, the Lansing State Journal boys cross country coach of the year for 2012. “So we walked away with our heads held high.”
The Pirates were coming off a seventh-place finish in Division 4 in 2010 and an eighth place in Division 3 in 2011.
“This group has been together the last three years, and top-10 finishes the previous two years set expectations high,” Werner said. “I challenged the boys, and did they step up with the work I was seeing them put in over the summer.”
Werner specifically credited seniors Greg Trierweiler, Joel Pennell and Blake Thelen.
“Sometimes you have a special group that’s willing to go out there and work, to have really big dreams and chase them,” Werner said. “They left a legacy that’s something to be excited about.”
Junior and usually fastest runner Tanner Droste, sophomore Caleb Barker and junior Randy Schafer will be among those who return in the fall of 2013 to try to earn a third straight CMAC and another regional title at P-W.
Success in track and field in the spring also has been a key to starting and continuing the cross country legacy. The Pirates finished sixth in Division 4 in 2011 and 14th in Division 3 in 2012.
“A lot of kids do both, and see the success we have in the spring as something that makes the kids willing to work at all year long,” Werner said.
Among others honored, LSJ Division 1 coach of the year Pat Murray guided East Lansing to a CAAC Blue title, LSJ Division 2 coach of the year Charles Miller led Mason to repeat CAAC Gold, Jackson regional and Greater Lansing meet titles as well as a fifth-place finish at the state meet, and LSJ Division 3-4 coach of the year Tim Lambrecht helped Ithaca to a TVC West title and an sixth-place finish at the Division 3 state meet.