BROOKLYN – Bryce Thelen and Pewamo-Westphalia have been on a mission to work their way to the top.
The senior had been a part of top-10 team finishes in the state cross country finals before.
This fall Thelen and the top-ranked Pirates had bigger goals in mind.
And they achieved those.
Pewamo-Westphalia captured the Division 4 team state championship Saturday morning at Michigan International Speedway with a score of 131.
“We’ve been wanting it really bad every day in practice and talking about it and dreaming about it,” said Thelen, who was seventh overall with a time of 16:43.2. “We’re very happy with how the season ended.”
The state championship was the first for the Pirates since Pewamo won it all in 1959. P-W finished 13 points ahead of runner-up Harbor Springs.
“This means everything,” P-W coach Scott Werner said. “We had done it on the track side before, and this is the first time that we’ve ever won it on the cross country side before. I just have a really committed group of guys. We started back in June and we put in a lot of miles and we put in a lot of work. To have it all culminate today – we’ve been focused on this for a long time.”
The Pirates had their five top runners finish among the top 43 individuals overall while capturing the state championship.
Portland St. Patrick freshman Ashton Walker was the top overall Lansing area finisher in Division 4 and placed sixth with a time of 16:41.2, while Lansing Christian junior David Tebben took 10th.
“I’m really happy about that,” Walker said. “I couldn’t have done it without my coach and teammates supporting me and family.
“It’s crazy to be here. I never could have imagined this. Being here, it’s so much better than what you could imagine. It’s just really fun to be here.”
Lansing Catholic fell short of a repeat in Division 3 and finished as the runner-up behind Saugatuck. Junior Ryan Schroeder was 20th overall and Will Peters took 21st to pace the Cougars, who had a score of 137.
“Saugatuck was awesome,” Lansing Catholic coach Tim Simpson said. “Saugatuck was what they are. We were hoping to take a shot at them if everything fell into place. We were hoping at least to be second. Our guys — I don’t know if we ran great races — but our guys were solid. They’re just competitors and they’re just consistent and they just went out and ran where they were supposed to be and ended up second place.”
Stockbridge’s Jake Chapman was the area’s top finisher and took 19th with a time of 16:40.2. He was one of three all-state runners for Stockbridge, which placed fourth as a team. Alan Baird finished 28th and Jack Youngblood was 29th for the Panthers.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.