COACH OF THE YEAR
Dave Gerlach, Salem: Year after year, no girls cross country team is better prepared than the Rocks have been under the guidance of Gerlach, who just finished his 21st season at the helm.
Salem had a long list of big accomplishments again in 2015, topped by a second-place finish at the D1 regional to send the Rocks to the finals for the fourth season in a row. At MIS in Brooklyn, the Rocks finished 15th overall.
The Rocks also won the Wayne County, Dewitt and Franklin invites, and they were second at the Ramblin’ Rock, MSU Spartan, division and conference meets.
“I am blessed to work in a sport that has so many terrific coaches and all around great people,” Gerlach said. “I am grateful to have once again had a group of athletes that are determined, focused and passionate about the sport of cross country.
“I learned long ago from my parents that hard work will overcome even those that may have more talent but don’t work to maximize their potential.”
Maddy Trevisan, Farmington: Trevisan concluded an outstanding senior season with a third-place finish in the Division 1 state meet with a school-record time of 17:31.
She was named Miss Cross Country for the state of Michigan as the top senior across all divisions at the state meets.
Trevisan, who will compete for the University of Michigan, is a league (OAA White Division) and regional champion, too. She was third in Oakland County.
Also an academic all-state with a 4.0 GPA, Trevisan will compete in the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Saturday in Kenosha, Wis.
“Maddy’s season started a little slow but finished with a flourish,” co-coach Jeremy Auer said. “Her leadership was one of the biggest reasons our team was able to make the jump to state qualifier this year.
“She sets the tone, athletically and academically. Her dedication and trust in the training process, as well as her trust in herself and her fitness is what allows her to perform at such a high level.”
Abby Inch, Farmington: Inch had what was arguably the strongest freshman campaign of anyone in Michigan this year.
She was all-county, all-region and all-state, bettering her time in each of those meets. Her 12th-place finish at the state meet in a time of 18:13 is a Farmington freshman record.
Inch was the second highest-placing freshman in the state. She won the Shamrock Invite and Bloomer Frosh/Soph Invite.
“Abby truly loves competing and has great racing instincts, a rarity for a freshman,” Auer said. “As Abby continues to build strength and fitness, the sky will be the limit.
“She’s as talented as anyone in the state. Watching her perform over the next three and a half years is going to be a lot of fun.”
Natalie Douglas, Franklin: Among Douglas’ senior-year highlighters were a first-place finish in the Livonia City Meet and the Rambling Rock Invitational, a fourth-place showing at the MSU Spartan Invitational Green Race, a second-place effort at the Wayne County Championships, a fourth-place finish at the KLAA Conference Meet, a fourth-place finish at her Division 1 regional race, and a 22nd-place finish at the state meet, which earned her all-state honors.
“Natalie really put together some strong performances her senior year,” coach Dave Bjorklund said. “She made running under 19 minutes a regular thing as the season went on, and she was racing near or at the front in most invitationals we went to.
“She finishes her career with the second-best time in school history, as well as our home course record at Nankin Mills (18:41.3). I could not have been more proud of her performance at the state meet. She had a goal; she went all out for it and achieved it.
“Natalie is one of the hardest-working and most-dedicated runners we have ever had at Franklin.”
Whitney Reid, N. Farmington: A freshman, Reid set a school record when she won the Huron Invite in 18:28.7, breaking former state champion Lisa Rives’ 1989 record of 18:45. She also won the River Rat Invite and Mott Fall Classic.
Reid, who ran under 19 minutes three times, was third in the OAA White Division (18:39), fifth in the Mott regional (18:43) and 75th in the state.
“I was very pleased with Whitney’s progress throughout the season,” coach Bill Pinnell said. “Things started clicking for her when she ran the Huron Invite in September, and she really caught fire from that point on.
“It was great to see her hard work and effort pay off. She has proven she’s one of the elite runners, and we look forward to big things from her in the coming years.”
Korey Szymaniak, Garden City: The senior finished off her high school cross country career in grand fashion by placing 84th overall at the Division 1 state finals with a time of 19 minutes, 19.9 seconds. A multiple-time state-qualifier, Szymaniak also excels for the Cougars in track and field.
Madalyn Simko, Salem: The sophomore was instrumental in Salem making a fourth consecutive trip to the D1 state finals, with the Rocks finishing second in the team standings at regionals.
Simko had a personal best time of 19:05.5, the sixth-fastest time in program history (fourth best for a Salem sophomore) and came in fourth at the Wayne County Championship (19:27) to make the all-county first team.
At the D1 regional held at Willow Metropark, Salem’s home course, Simko came in 11th with a time off 19:18. She also won the team’s Most Valuable Runner award, earned medalist honors at the Dewitt Invitational and was named a KLAA Scholar Athlete.
“Madalyn’s athleticism and competitiveness again helped her to another terrific season,” coach Dave Gerlach said. “Madalyn came on in the middle of the season to take control as the team’s No. 1 runner.”
Jenna Wisner, Luth. Westland: The senior placed 12th at the Division 4 state meet with a time of 19 minutes, 22 seconds.
Kayla Hughes, Salem: The Rocks’ team captain this season, Hughes was the Most Valuable Senior for the squad and qualified for the state finals with the team and as an individual.
Hughes, a first-team all-county performer (fifth, 19:31.8), tallied 264 varsity points (sixth most by a Salem runner) and had a personal best of 19:20.4. At the D1 regional, the fourth-year varsity runner finished 14th (19:28) and completed her outstanding prep career at Michigan International Speedway with a time of 19:43.
“Kayla is a tremendous competitor and has a work ethic second to none as a distance runner,” Gerlach said. “… After overcoming adversity last season, the success this year was due to the hours and years of hard work and passion for the sport.”
Erin Seibert, Franklin: The freshman’s 2015 highlights included a ninth-place showing at the Wayne County Championships, a seventh-place finish at the KLAA conference meet, a 13th-place finish at her Division 1 regional meet and a 166-place finish at the state meet (20:01.2).
“Erin had an outstanding freshman season,” Bjorklund said. “She was our number-two runner most of the year, and really put together some great performances at the big meets down the stretch (county, conference and regional). Erin broke Natalie Douglas’s freshman 5K record with her personal best time of 19:27.7 at the regional. I can’t wait to see what Erin can do the next three years.”
Erin McCann, Salem: If her stellar junior season is any indication, McCann looks to be a major contributor to the 2016 Salem squad.
The third-year varsity runner earned Most Valuable Junior honors and tallied a personal best of 19:30.3 while also finishing seventh at the Wayne County Championship (19:32.8) to make the first all-county squad.
A KLAA Scholar Athlete winner, McCann came in 10th at the Kensington Conference meet (19:43.8) and ninth 19th at the D1 regional, with a mark of just over 19:49.
“Erin has battled and shown perseverance this season which has got her on first team,” Gerlach said. “Her leadership, work ethic and love for athletics have helped make this team successful once again.”
Kathleen George, Churchill: The junior enjoyed a fantastic season, helping the Chargers win the Livonia City Meet with a second-place time of 20:47.
She also medaled in the Ramblin’ Rock Invite (sixth, 19:41.8), Jefferson Invite (sixth, 20:06), Wayne County Championship (sixth, 19:32.2), KLAA Conference Meet (eighth, 19:40.5, earning second-team all-conference) and 18th place at the Division 1 regional meet (19:49).
“Kathleen had another solid cross country season,” Churchill coach Sue Tatro said. “She is an extremely hard worker who loves to compete. Kathleen is an athlete we can always depend on during workouts and races. I am really looking forward to seeing her in a leadership role next year.”
Madison Justice, sr., Salem
Hannah Jeffress, sr., Salem
Caroline George, jr., Churchill
Annie Bonds, jr., Plymouth
Sierra Bowden, sr., Salem
Anna Nagelhout, fr., Canton
Gabrielle Mancini, fr., Salem
Christina Murphy, jr., Churchill
Shea Wilson, soph., Salem
Madelyn Rush, soph., Plymouth
Julia Cercone, jr., Stevenson
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dave Gerlach, Salem
Farmington: Morgan Merlino, Megan Rasak, Erin Abramczyk, Hannah Ho; Harrison: Anya Turner, Maya Roberts, Victoria Blaga, Maggie Kondek; Mercy: Lauren Lytle; North Farmington: Karlie Cummins, Carolyn Chow; Salem: Lizzy Lu, Marnie Waggoner, Karissa McCarthy, Leah Stevens, Brianna Essien, Bridget Nelson, Charissa Johnson, Hallie Younglas, Kaya Knake, Jessica Hughes, Madison Grant, Kayla DelaCruz; Plymouth: Ana White, Arwa Hararwala, Amelia Carey, Gwen Carey, Olivia Schafer, Claire Curvin, Charlotte Clark; Canton: Mary Galm, Kate Cotham; Kayla Neme, Carly Smith, Elise McIntee, Samantha McGrath; PCA: Sienna Ruiter.