Tony Floyd, Franklin: Floyd capped a spectacular career by qualifying for the third time for the Division 1 state meet, where he finished ninth overall, earning all-state honors.
He was the champion of the Livonia City Meet and the KLAA Kensington Conference and was runner-up at the Wayne County Championships. In addition to placing third at his Division 1 regional, he won every dual meet and broke the school record with a time of 15:31.
“Tony is a very special runner,” coach Pat Koelzer said. “His natural form makes him smooth and efficient. The longer the distance, the better he gets.
“I’ve had the honor of coaching him in either cross country or track since eighth grade. This season, he was very focused on his goal of being all-state and it helped him grow into a leader by example for the rest of the team.
“He is also a good student and his teammates really look up to him. Tony hopes to continue running in college and is starting to get attention from some Division I schools.”
Chaz Jeffress, Salem: Consistently among the cream of the crop in Division 1, the senior capped off one of the best careers in school history with all-state honors for the second season in a row.
At Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Jeffress placed 16th with a time of 15:43.3 seconds, following his second-place finish the previous weekend at the D1 regional at Willow Metropark (15:33.2).
Jeffress, No. 1 in Salem boys cross country team history and owner of the program’s freshman, junior and senior records, won the Wayne County Championship with a mark of 15:31, his best time of the season.
“It has been a joy to coach a special talent like Chaz for the past four years and he will be missed tremendously in the future,” coach Steve Aspinall said. “He has been our top runner for the past three seasons and has been a contender to win every race he has entered for the past two years.
“Chaz is one of the toughest runners I have ever coached and his hatred of losing is second to none.”
On Nov. 14, Jeffress qualified for the Mid-East Meet of Champions with a time of 15:58, placing third to earn a spot on Team Michigan.
Zac Clark, Canton: The junior really came into his own for the Chiefs in 2015, qualifying for the D1 state finals with his 16:22 performance at the regional — the fastest time for a Canton runner at that race.
The best was yet to come, as Boyd clocked 16:08 at the D1 state final, which coach Bill Boyd said was the third fastest time in school history.
“Zac also holds the record for fastest Canton times at both the Wayne County Championship and the KLAA Championship,” Boyd said.
At the county meet, Clark placed fifth (16:23).
James Weekley, Harrison: Weekley qualified for his third consecutive state meet and finished 46th in Division 1 with a time of 16:08.
He was fifth in the Waterford regional (16.24) and was the city champion for the second year in a row, running 16:22 in early October at Oakland Community College.
“We’ve had some great runners, but no one has had the consistency James has had across the board,” coach John Reed said.
“My goal for him as a coach has always been to see him run at the next level and I think he’s going to do very well there. He still has a big upside to him.”
Ethan Byrnes, Plymouth: Hard work between seasons paid big dividends for the sophomore, who ran a personal best of 16:06 — the ninth-fastest time posted in the state in D1.
That time also is seventh fastest in school history and No. 1 among Plymouth sophomores in program history.
Other accomplishments included finishing fourth at the county meet (16:11), ninth at the Kensington Conference meet (16:23) and 10th at the regional with a time of 16:13.
At MIS in Brooklyn, his time of 16:16.4 was good for 65th overall.
“Ethan ran a lot of miles over the summer and it paid off,” coach Jon Mikosz said. “He had a great season and is only a sophomore. He has the potential to be one of the best runners in school history by the time he is done.
“He is a vary coachable runner that is extremely determined, which is a great combination.”
Nick Trevisan, Farmington: After breaking 20 minutes once as a freshman, Trevisan had an outstanding sophomore season in which he finished 77th at the Divison 1 state meet (16:23).
He ran a career best of 16:13 at the Waterford regional and qualified for states in 11th place. He was all-OAA White Division and all-Oakland County, too.
Trevisan is a 4.0 student and was named to the academic all-state team.
“Nick had a strong track season and continued to work hard this summer,” co-coach Jeremy Auer said. “His hard work and dedication paid off, running a PR by nearly three minutes and winning our first jamboree in 17:06.
“Nick is always looking to improve; he never settles. He brings the same intensity to every practice that he does his races.
“That will ensure ongoing improvement as we look for all-state performances from Nick in the future.”
Robert Irwin, N. Farmington: A sophomore, Irwin finished second in the city meet (16:30) at OCC for the second year in a row and was the runner-up in the OAA White Division at 16:35.
He also placed third (17:10) in the Huron Invite, fourth (16:47) in the Linden Invite and 25th (16:47) in the Oakland County meet.
Days before the regional, Irwin sustained a back injury and was unable to complete the Division 1 race at Hess Hathaway Park.
“It was unfortunate, because Robert was showing a lot of improvement in the latter part of the season,” coach Paul Welch said, adding Irwin still had a terrific sophomore season.
“Robert’s hard work and dedication provided the framework that enabled him to improve throughout the season and compete with the best in the area.”
Brandon Boyd, Plymouth: The future is pretty bright for the Wildcats, with three more seasons with Boyd in the lineup.
As a freshman, he posted the state’s seventh-fastest time for a D1 runner with his personal best of 16:39. That broke the previous record for a Plymouth ninth-grader, held by Byrnes.
At the Wayne County Championship, Boyd placed 18th with a time of 16:57 and took 25th at the Kensington Conference meet with a time of 17:06. Then at the regional, his mark of 16:39 was 22nd best.
“He has a lot of potential,” Mikosz said. “He ran some amazing times for just being a freshman. Once he gets more races under his belt, he could be one of the top guys in the area.
“He is an all-around good guy and a hard worker at practice.”
Seth Windle, Ply. Christian: Small in stature but big in talent, the sophomore finished 26th in Division 4 (16:58.7) to earn all-state honors and also was a key part of an Eagles team that came in 11th in the team standings.
Windle set the PCA record with a time of 16:56 at the Wayne County Championships, then ran 16:28 at the Michigan Independent Athletics Conference meet to shatter his own mark.
He was MIAC MVP, having earned medalist honors at all three conference races.
“His goal was to be on the podium at the state finals,” coach Jennifer Lemieux said. “He got up every morning during the summer to run. We had a plan and he worked hard for the honor to be all-state.
“I am extremely proud of him. His motivation is to run for God’s glory and he does this extremely well.”
Shane Andrews, Canton: This was a year of progress for the Chiefs and the sophomore’s growth as a runner throughout the season is a key reason.
Andrews set his personal mark of 16:39 at the Wayne County Championship, making him one of the program’s fastest sophomores ever.
“Shane’s 16:39 is his career best and he is only a sophomore, so that’s exciting right there,” Boyd said.
The 10th-grader also set the school record for fastest time at the Mustang Invitational and currently sits as the 20th fastest runner in program history.
At the conference meet, Andrews finished 16th (16:41) and followed that up at the D1 regional with a time of 17:02 (34th place).
Andrew Bambach, Stevenson:
The senior’s best race of the season was his 12th-place finish at KLAA Kensington Conference Meet in a time of 16:29.6. His ninth-place finish in 16:40 led the Spartans to a first-place finish at the Wayne County Championships.
“Andrew had a solid senior season,” said coach Chris Inch. “He was our number one runner in nearly every race. It is too bad we weren’t able to get him qualified for the state meet. Andrew is a good cross country runner. He’s an even better track athlete. I know he has some big goals for himself and his teammates this spring track season.”
Coaches of the Year
Steve Aspinall, Salem: The KLAA covers a part of the state that veteran coach Aspinall describes as “a hotbed of solid cross country runners and teams.”
And the Rocks have been one of the better teams in recent seasons, led by one of the state’s premier runners in senior Chaz Jeffress. At the helm is the Observer’s co-coach of the year.
Aspinall would rather not take credit for any of those successes, however, praising his athletes and assistant coach Geoff Baker (who just completed his 30th season with the Salem cross country program).
“The 2015 cross country season was successful because of the hard work and dedication put forth by the athletes going back to June,” Aspinall said. “These guys decided they wanted to be good and put forth the work to back it up.
“The seniors provided great leadership and assistance throughout the season and they will be missed next year.”
Salem, in the always-tough KLAA Central Division, went 3-2 in dual meets to finish third behind Northville and Novi. Those were the top three teams at the conference meet and the Rocks went on to finish fourth at the D1 regional, just missing on a spot at MIS in Brooklyn.
“I am proud to be the coach of a team with such a rich tradition of success,” Aspinall said.
Charles Bridges/Jeremy Auer, Farmington: What made the season so successful for the Falcons was how far the program progressed in just two years.
Farmington didn’t have enough runners to field a full team or post a team score in 2013 and it struggled to get back on its feet in 2014.
With the same team as last year, the Falcons reclaimed the city championship, finished a close third in the OAA White Division and were seventh at the Willow Metropark regional.
“Seeing the boys begin to have success is very gratifying,” Bridges said. “We have worked very hard the past three years to get the boys team back to being a solid competitive team.
“We were able to do that this year and the foundation is in place to be very successful over the next few years. We were pleased with the 2015 season and are very excited about our future.”
“This year was a huge step for our program,” Auer said. “No one but us gave us any chance to be competitive this year. The running culture at Farmington has come a long way in the last 12 months.
“If the commitment and dedication continue on this path, we will be extremely tough for years to come.”
Grant Rudd, soph., Franklin
Josh Mussen, jr., Churchill
Nathan Ward, jr., Stevenson
Alex Brauer, jr., Stevenson
Aaron Vicars, fr., Ply. Christian
Griffin Skaff, sr., Salem
Jacob Kubinski, sr., Salem
Nick Socha, jr., Canton
Owen Rowader, soph., Stevenson
Alex Kroll, jr., Salem
Ben Griffith, soph., Stevenson
Churchill: Jon Hovermale, Clint Cowen, Delson Christian, Noah Hagood; Franklin: Matt Lepper, Logan Evanchuk, Mike Mackiewicz; Salem: Ryan Exell, Andrew Beyer, Luke Haran; Plymouth: Jarrett Warner, Lucas Kapala, Adam Stepek, Nate Schmidt; Canton: Zach Carey, Zach Cannon, Braden Heimbaugh, Daniel Jiminez; Stevenson: Nathan Wilson, Jacob Bieganski; Farmington: Maxx Merlino, Nick Johnson, Jonathon Pierce; Harrison: Dakota Kelly; North Farmington: Derek Abbott, Ryan Darnell; Plymouth Christian: Gareth Matson.