Isaac Harris had no idea where he stood in the mass of humanity charging toward the finish line at the state Division 1 cross country meet.
All the Pinckney senior knew was that he didn’t want to leave Michigan International Speedway with any regrets.
So, with one more runner left to pass, Harris made one final surge before hitting the line to complete his five-kilometer journey.
His place: 30th.
The All-State cutoff: 30th.
“I edged a guy in the last meter, literally,” Harris said. “I had a feeling I was really close. I saw one last guy in front of me. I was never going to be able to live with myself if I didn’t get him and I came in 31st, so I went for it.”
Harris finished in a personal-best 15:48.4. East Lansing junior Jacob Stanton, who was saddled with a 31st-place finish, crossed in 15:49.1.
Harris made a huge improvement from 108th in 16:30.3 in 2012 and 83rd in 16:34.6 last year, giving Pinckney an All-Stater for the 11th time in 12 years.
“Surprisingly, I felt pretty calm,” Harris said. “Just running, like (coach Tom) Carney says, smooth and strong and trying to do the best I can.”
Also just making it onto the good side of the all-state cut was Howell senior Brian Moore, who was 29th in 15:47.1.
Moore was all-state last year with a 22nd-place finish, but was faster this year than his time of 15:59.2 in 2013. He is Howell’s first two-time all-stater since Matt French in 2000 and 2001.
“The entire race, I was in an All-State place, unlike last year when I was 100th at the first turn, which is bad,” Moore said. “I was all right for placing the entire race. It was just keeping it or trying to get faster. It was a good fight today.”
It was the second-fastest time of Moore’s career. He ran his personal best of 15:41.3 in last year’s regional.
“I was looking for low 30s today,” Moore said. “Halfway through the race, I could tell by the times being yelled at me that the school record was out of the question. It was just get All-State.”
Pinckney finished eighth as a team with 243 points. Also scoring for the Pirates were Austin Wicker (44th, 16:05.2), Ryan Talbott (52nd, 16:10.8), Nick Hartstang (126th, 16:46.3) and Chase Schweyer (136th, 16:50.8).
“They just got walled in,” Carney said. “Once they got to that six-minute mark, it’s hard to get around all those bodies. That’s really what the case is. The situation was just trying to get through people.”
Pinckney cracked the top eight in the state meet for the 11th time in the last 12 years. The Pirates were 13th in 2011.
Eight points separated the top three teams. Rockford won with 140 points, followed by KLAA Lakes Conference members Lakeland (146) and Waterford Mott (148).
Brighton’s girls were ranked fourth in the state two weeks ago, but health issues at the top of the lineup plagued the team down the stretch. Still, the Bulldogs were able to finish in the top 10 for the 24th time in the 37-year history of the meet, placing ninth with 317 points. Milford, which was beaten twice by a relatively healthy Brighton team late in the season, took fourth with 169.
Birmingham Seaholm had the top two finishers in Audrey Belf (17:19.0) and Rachel Dadamio (17:29.4) to win for the second time in three years with 88 points.
“When you have stuff happen to you all up front, you can’t replace a sub-19 girl,” Brighton coach Kristi Matuszewski said. “You go out and be the best team you can be.”
Junior Kirsten McGahan missed the final three meets of the season with a stress fracture in her foot. Junior Jenna Sica and sophomore Andrea Crowe ran slower than usual Saturday because of illnesses.
Filling one of the voids at the top was freshman Lauren Parrell, who was 59th in 19:05.4, a time right on par with what Brighton’s big three had been running.
“There was a lot of tough competition,” Parrell said. “It was a really good experience. I loved it.”
Parrell was Brighton’s No. 1 runner in its final two meets of the season.
“She’s just a phenomenal talent,” Matuszewski said. “She’s very competitive, which lends itself well to these big races.”
Crowe was 76th in 19:19.8, sophomore Sam Fusik 98th in 19:33.1, freshman Lexi Reynolds 111th in 19:49.3 and Sica 113th in 19:51.8. It was the seventh state meet in seven sports seasons for Sica, who also skis and runs track.
Howell freshman Alexis Miller was 116th in 19:54.7. Hartland sophomore Michelle Moraitis took 157th in 20:19.3.
In Division 2, Fowlerville freshman Ollie Updike reached one of her two goals. She ran a personal-best 19:29 (her goal was to break 20 minutes), but finished 39th, missing all-state honors by nine spots.
Her teammate, junior Bridget Parker, finished 152nd overall in 20:59.