Samantha Morehouse and Alyssa Bartle both represented the J-L Cardinals at the MHSAA cross country state finals on Saturday, November 7th. Sam finished her High School career with a 95th place finish
2015 J-L CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULE
For the third time in four years, Johannesburg-Lewiston senior Samantha Morehouse will compete in the Division 4 state final.
Morehouse (21:44), who had battled health problems the past two weeks, placed 10th to qualify for the championship in Saturday's D4 regional at Michaywe' Pines.
"Sam had some health flare-ups and had a couple days where she didn't run in practice," J-L coach Craig DeHoog said. "Three or four days before the regional, she ran some more and got herself back into shape.
"She has the experience to where she's been here before and has qualified before, so she wasn't going to let missing a few practices stop her from making it (to the state final)."
Alyssa Bartle (21:49) joined Morehouse across the finish line by placing 12th, qualifying for the state final and pushing the J-L girls team to a sixth-place finish out of 10 schools.
About 1/3 through the race, Bartle was around the 15th- to 18th-place range and needed to kick it into gear to place at least 15th or better to qualify for the state final as an individual. She did so toward the end of the race, jumping about six spots to finish with a qualifying time.
"Alyssa has kept improving all season," DeHoog said. "That was a (personal record) and the best time she has ever run. She's tough and is putting her mind to it and making it happen.
"She needed to gain some ground, so she kicked it in and went for it (near the end of the race). She was really happy, and Sam was, too, because now they have each other when they run next Saturday."
Also running for J-L's girls team were Hannah Donajkowski (23:36), Chelsea Amborski (24:18), Destiny Sherbonda (26:19), Anika Kierczynski (27:00) and Carleigh Harbron (27:03).
"To have two girls finish in the top 15 like that is pretty neat," DeHoog said. "We were close to going as a team, and that would have been neat."
Although no runners for J-L's boys team qualified for the state final, Nathan Idalski (18:42) led the Cardinals by placing 24th.
The boys placed 12th out of 14 teams. Nathan Lawrence (19:20), Danny Mackowiak (19:58), Nate Kuznicki (21:19), Tyler Helzer (22:05) and Hunter Lindbert (25:46) ran for J-L as well.
MIS bound? Which runners to watch in Saturday's Michaywe' Pines regional
GAYLORD — Michaywe' Pines Golf Course hosts both the Division 2 and 4 cross-country regionals Saturday, Oct. 31, and several Otsego County runners are capable of qualifying for this year's state championship.
The Gaylord girls, ranked No. 8 in the most recent D2 poll, hope to qualify as a team but face a tough field. Also joining the Blue Devils in the regional race are No. 7 Cadillac and No. 10 Whitehall.
Sisters Alexis Smith and Katelyn Smith should lead the Blue Devils, and both earned All-Big North honors in last week's championships.
Courtney Busch, Carlie Martella, Bri Martin, Emily Byrne and Ali Kowatch round out Gaylord's lineup. Should the bottom half of its roster have a phenomenal showing, Gaylord could bring home a regional title as well as qualify for the state championship Saturday, Nov. 7 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Injuries have hurt Gaylord's boys team this fall, but it does have a trio of runners who look to make it to Brooklyn. Zak Goddard has run steadily as Gaylord's No. 1 runner while Derek Giallombardo and Justin Desloover are right behind the senior.
Who knows? Maybe one of Gaylord's freshmen runners can qualify for the state final as well. That group includes Matt Jaroneski, Nick Green and Andrew Quall while sophomore Kenny Smith could also have a good showing.
In D4 action, the field appears to be too tough for either Johannesburg-Lewiston and St. Mary to make it to the state championship as teams. But that doesn't mean both schools won't have individuals punch their ticket to race at MIS.
Samantha Morehouse and Alyssa Bartle have helped J-L's girls team as a dependable tandem up front. Helping the Lady Cardinals has been Hannah Donajkowski, who has solidified herself as the team's No. 3 runner.
Looking to qualify for the state final for the first time is J-L boys runner Nathan Idalski, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last fall and couldn't run in the D4 regional meet. Idalski, a sophomore, has placed in the top 10 of most Ski Valley meets he has competed in and should make it to Brooklyn with a strong effort Saturday.
The surprise of the fall was St. Mary's boys team, who narrowly edged the Ski Valley field to win its first conference championship in school history two weeks ago. Runners Brendan Delaney and Levi Milan could be a lock to make it to the state final while Ian Milan and Nick Torsky also have a shot at qualifying.
With the junior varsity volleyball season over, Averi Bebble can focus her attention solely on Saturday's race in hopes of being St. Mary's top girl who crosses the finish line. Emma Cherry, Allie Rutkowski, and Summer Sullivan will also try their hand at qualifying for the final.
Johannesburg-Lewiston girls runners Samantha Morehouse and Alyssa Bartle put together top-five times, pushing the Cardinals to a third-place finish in Tuesday's Bulldog Invitational at Inland Lakes.
Morehouse finished the race in 22:36 to earn second place. Bartle (24:02) was shortly behind Morehouse as the sophomore placed fourth.
Hannah Donajkowski (25:46) placed 13th, and Chelsea Amborski (25:57) took 15th. Sam Baganz (27:56), Anika Kierczynski (29:47) and Destiny Sherbonda (30:13) crossed the finish line for J-L as well.
Nathan Idalski (19:30) finished seventh in the boys race, as J-L took fifth place overall.
Nathan Lawrence (22:12) took 24th, Danny Mackowiak (22:25) finished 26th and Tyler Helzer (22:30) was 27th.
Also for the Cardinals, Troy Boughner (23:34), T.J. Long (24:32) and Nate Kuznicki (26:30) completed the race.
J-L's Morehouse, Idalski have top-10 finishes at Ellsworth invite
ELLSWORTH — Johannesburg-Lewiston faced some of the area's top Division 4 competition when it raced in Saturday's House on the Hill cross-country invitational in Ellsworth.
Samantha Morehouse (22:19) placed eighth overall to push J-L's girls team to a third-place finish.
Harbor Springs won the meet while Grayling placed second. Boyne City was fourth, followed by Elk Rapids and Mancelona.
Also running for the Cardinals, Alyssa Bartle (23:12) placed 15th. Hannah Donajkowski (25:34), Chelsea Amborski (26:46), Carleigh Harbron (39:37) and Anika Kierczynski (30:11) completed the 5,000-meter course as well.
Nathan Idalski (18:27) turned in another top-10 finish, placing fifth overall and helping the boys team take fourth place.
Harbor Springs won the boys meet, followed by Boyne City and Grayling. Elk Rapids placed fifth, Glen Lake was sixth and Mancelona took seventh.
Joining Idalski across the finish line were Danny Mackowiak (21:36), Nathan Lawrence (21:46), Tyler Helzer (21:54), T.J. Long (22:23), Nate Kuznicki (23:08) and Hunter Lindbert (32:10).
J-L's middle school team competed in the open race. Gavin Weaver (12:17) placed 15th to lead the Cardinals. Cody Layman (12:48), Eliza Idalski (15:21), Evan Idalski (17:37), Zeek Lindbert (18:08), Cordel Campbell (18:13), Claire Mullins (18:22) and Abby Mays (26:46) also ran.
Up next for the Cardinals, they are scheduled to run in an invitational Saturday in Petoskey.
Bartle finishes Mud Run shoeless for Lady Cardinals
Johannesburg-Lewiston's Alyssa Bartle cannot catch a break.
She didn't complete the East Jordan Invitational held Sept. 2 because of heat exhaustion, a meet competitors ran in 86-degree weather.
After a fast start to Saturday's Mud Run, Bartle lost her balance and then fell into a mud pit around the one-mile mark. To make matters worse, she also lost her shoe shortly after the fall.
She ran 400 meters more before she tossed her other shoe to her teammate, Nathan Lawrence, and then finished the race in her socks.
But Bartle was OK with that because the mud caked to her shoes, and it made it difficult for her to drive her feet forward.
Nevertheless, the shoeless wonder took 23rd (24:13) and pushed the J-L girls team to 10th place overall.
"I gave that shoe to Nathan Lawrence because I couldn't balance, and I couldn't stand it anymore," Bartle said. "They had to go."
"It was hard to run with them because they felt like bricks on my feet."
Bartle said she wasn't discouraged by the unbelievable chain of events.
"I think every run is a good run," she said. "You just learn from things.
"I have to learn to be careful and have more balance with my feet. I'm horrible with balance, but I think today was a good day. I'm happy."
Samantha Morehouse (22:10) placed 11th to pace the Cardinals. Also running for J-L were Hannah Donajkowski (25:22), Chelsea Amborski (27:35) and Destiny Sherbonda (28:47).
The person who retrieved Bartle's first shoe, Anika Kierczynski, completed the race in 29:46.
In the boys race, sophomore Nathan Idalski finished in 19:02 to place fifth individually and receive a medal. His time helped J-L take 11th.
Lawrence, Bartle's other shoe savior, was second for J-L. He raced in 21:21, followed by Tyler Helzer (23:22) and Danny Mackowiak (23:28).
J-L ran in the 200-runner middle school race, with Gage Boughner taking 17th, Gavin Weaver finishing 35th, Cody Layman placing 38th and Sydney Townsend coming in 39th.
J-L's Morehouse, 2 St. Mary boys battle heat during East Jordan Invitational
EAST JORDAN — Samantha Morehouse was barely across the finish line before she tore off her cross-country uniform.
Then the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls runner sat on the ground in her sports bra. A mixture of raw emotions and sweat covered her face.
No, Morehouse wasn't channeling her inner Brandi Chastain, nor was she celebrating her seventh-place overall finish in Wednesday's East Jordan Invitational like it was the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final.
She was just happy her 22:27 run around East Jordan Community Park was over because outside it was 88 degrees with 60-percent humidity.
"I just wanted to get it done," the senior said. "It was pretty bad.
"I'm just glad I'm done running."
That's the peril of being a Division 4 runner in Northern Michigan.
Runners start the season while battling scorching temperatures in August and finish it needing scarf's and gloves in early November.
During the D4 state final last season in Brooklyn, a race in which Morehouse ran, runners competed in 41-degree temperatures. She wished that was what the weather was Wednesday in East Jordan.
"Running at states was a lot better," she said. "I like the cold a lot more.
"I don't do heat very well. I just feel like dying, and I can't run very fast."
Six other Lady Cardinals fought the heat during the invitational, all helping their team place seventh overall in the 12-team meet.
Hannah Donajkowski finished behind Morehouse, completing the 5,000-meter course in 25:43 and placing 27th.
Also for J-L was Samantha Baganz (46th, 28:03), Chelsea Amborski (57th, 30:30) and Carleigh Harbron (80th, 37:30).
Savannah Walter placed 84th (37:44), followed by Heather House, who took 93rd (41:07).
Also participating in the meet was St. Mary, placing ninth after Emma Cherry recorded its top time.
The freshman placed 40th (20:57), followed by Summer Sullivan (50th, 29:03), Megan Gruszynski (54th, 30:06) and Allie Rutkowski (73rd, 32:39).
2 Snowbirds fly to a near photo finish
• It didn't matter Wednesday's East Jordan Invitational featured a premier D2 program like Traverse City Central and admirable D4 boys teams such as Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Boyne City.
The real competition was between two Snowbirds, senior Levi Milan and sophomore Brendan Delaney, and it came down to the finish line.
St. Mary coach Dick Goepp challenged both during the pre-season to see which one would carry the torch as the team's No. 1 runner.
For awhile it looked as if Delaney had earned the title. He led until Milan passed him before the course's last corner. The two reached the final stretch, a 1/4-mile sprint, and were neck and neck the whole time.
Milan carried a small lead, but Delaney was right on his heels like a loose pit bull chasing a mail carrier. And then Milan beat Delaney by a snout.
"Brendan, I told you I wasn't giving you an easy race today," said Milan afterward while looking at Delaney, who was panting near the finish line water cooler.
Although Milan placed 30th (19:52), and Delaney took 31st (19:53), Delaney never let up — not even when Milan passed him late.
"I knew that as soon as he passed me that I had to step it up," Delaney said. "They say you have to give all you got, and I really tried to give all I had. It was painful, but it was worth it."
Added Milan: "It was scary having him chase me. I'm a senior, and I like leadership. When someone threatens that, I knew I couldn't give up that easily or let the heat get to me.
"Pain is only temporary. The results online are forever."
Also for the Snowbirds, which placed seventh, were Ian Milan (38th, 20:37), Nick Torsky (68th, 22:55) and Jimmy Pandy (81st, 24:04). Nathan Smith (87th, 24:36), and Jude Kole (94th, 25:57) also raced.
Nathan Idalski led J-L by placing 15th overall. The sophomore completed the course in 18:59 and pushed his shorthanded team to an 11th place finish out of 12 teams.
The Cardinals were without senior Troy Boughner, who suffered a meniscus injury during a wake boarding accident last week. He's slated to be the team's No. 2 runner, and it's unsure when he'll return.
Stepping up and taking Boughner's place was Danny Mackowiak, who placed 75th (23:36), followed by Nathan Lawrence (90th, 25:04), Nate Kuznicki (99th, 25:59) and T.J. Long (109th, 28:53).
St. Mary and J-L return to action Saturday, Sept. 12 when it races in the Charlevoix Mud Run.
J-L's Morehouse breezes by competition, despite summer health limitations
CENTRAL LAKE — Samantha Morehouse's battle with ulcerative colitis kept her from starting the cross-country season on time last fall.
She spent 13 days in the hospital on bowel rest while Johannesburg-Lewiston competed in a handful of meets.
Because of her chronic large intestine disease, Morehouse only logged 50 practice miles this past summer. But her lack of training didn't show Saturday, as the senior placed seventh overall in the Ryan Shay Memorial Invitational at Jean Burns' Farm in Central Lake.
Morehouse completed the 2-mile course in 13:34 and helped the Lady Cardinals capture a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Division 4 meet.
"I was afraid to run over the summer because of my colitis," Morehouse said. "I was afraid it'd flare up, so I just wanted to take it easy and give myself time to heal.
"But I felt pretty good today, and I did better than I expected. I thought I'd be closer to 14 minutes, but I got 30 seconds faster than I had hoped for today."
Morehouse said that extra boost came from adrenaline, but J-L second-year coach Craig DeHoog believes it was her hard work in practice the past two weeks that pushed her Saturday.
"She's just a hard worker," DeHoog said. "Even without logging a ton of miles this summer, she just goes hard at it and wants it.
"I think she'll be maybe top three in the Ski Valley, and I think she had one girl from our conference ahead of her today. She just needs to keep logging miles. She just needs to do more miles and more meets (to continuing improving)."
Joining Morehouse at the finishing line was sophomore Alyssa Bartle, who placed 26th (14:54).
Hannah Donajkowski was 31st (15:45), followed by Samantha Baganz (37th, 16:21), Chelsea Amborski (44th, 16:56), Anika Kierczynski (53rd, 18:42) and Carleigh Harbron (56th, 19:30). Savannah Walter was 61st (21:02), Allison Webster placed 63rd (21:40) and Abby Mays took 67th (32:11).
An Achilles tendon injury shortened Nathan Idalski's season last fall, but the sophomore picked up right where he left off on Saturday.
Idalski took 14th after finishing the race in 11:46, helping the Cardinals place seventh overall as a team.
The only mishap that slowed down Idalski was his pacing. He started the race too fast. It hurt his pace as the race wore on, especially once he reached the sand hill at the course's halfway point.
"I feel like I definitely can improve more," Idalski said. "I struggled with pacing. I was shooting for top 15, but I started off too fast. That dirt hit me like a brick wall and made me slower."
As a freshman, Idalski completed the Ryan Shay in 12:17 to place 13th. Despite trimming his time by 31 seconds, he knows he can race faster.
"I just need to run every day as much as I can," Idalski said. "That'll probably be my best bet."
Added DeHoog: "He needs to work on his pacing more, and that's kind of what he has been doing. He struggled with that a little bit last year, and he has to figure out how to run his race.
"But it's still an excellent race for him. I'd guess he'll still be in the top five of our conference in the meets he'll compete in."
Also running for the Cardinals was senior Troy Boughner, who placed 47th (14:01).
Nathan Lawrence was 50th (14:07), followed by Tyler Helzer (62nd, 15:38), T.J. Long (63rd, 16:02) and Nate Kuznicki (64th, 16:09).
The day's biggest surprise came from sophomore Danny Mackowiak, who showed dramatic flashes of improvement as he finished 58th after running the course in 15:17.
"Danny is by far the most improved runner today," DeHoog said. "He was fourth out of seven boys, and it was a good first meet for him."
J-L seventh-grader Sydney Townsend completed the 2-mile course in 14:18 during the open race held Saturday in Central Lake.
Townsend's time was the second fastest among all J-L girls who competed. The time would have been the 17th-best mark overall had it counted during the varsity girls race.
Season Preview: Lady Cards eye state final bid, youth to guide boys team again
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times - Sports Editor
As Craig DeHoog enters his second season as coach of Johannesburg-Lewiston's cross-country team, his program's success will rely on a mixture of experience and youth this season.
For the girls team, it'll be its experience that it needs to utilize. The team has 12 runners, including six seniors, and should have enough athletic ability to compete for a top-three finish in the Ski Valley Conference and perhaps qualify as a team for the Division 4 state final.
"On the girls side, I think they're good enough to qualify as a team for the state final," DeHoog said. "We were too young last year, but now I have a lot of girls who are seniors. I can see us qualifying as a team.
"I got a taste of (the state final) as a coach with one of my girls last season. Now I'd love to take an entire team to the state final, and I can see it happening. We have six seniors, and it's definitely a possibility."
That state final runner was Samantha Morehouse, who returns as a senior.
Last year, she battled ulcerative colitis — something that sidelined her for 13 days in the hospital — but she still finished as J-L's top runner. She took fifth overall (22:27.9) in the Ski Valley Championships to earn All-Conference First Team honors. A few weeks later, she placed just outside the top 100 in the D4 state final (21:48.6).
DeHoog expects Morehouse to continue her reign as J-L's best runner.
"Sam should pace us, and she's at a ceiling where she's not going to get three minutes faster this year," DeHoog said. "But she works hard enough to make it back to (the state final), and I could see her at the top this year. Her health seems to be on an even keel."
DeHoog is also excited about sophomore Alyssa Bartle and senior Kate Heidman. Bartle joined the team halfway through the season last year while Heidman is a newcomer to the program.
"Alyssa Bartle was my most improved girl, and I gave her that award at the sports banquet last school year," DeHoog said. "She has worked her tail off and has run a couple of 5Ks this summer. I anticipate her to make a push and help us out this season.
"I'm excited about Kate Heidman because she's an athletic kid. We've tried to get her to join the team in the past, but she's played other sports."
Experienced runners Anika Kierczynski, Hannah Donajkowski, Samantha Baganz and Savannah Walter return as well. The girls will also have Carleigh Harbron, Abby Mays, Allyson Webster, Marciah Ziobron and Heather House.
Unlike the girls team, the five most experienced runners for the boys are all entering the season as sophomores.
The standout from that bunch is Nathan Idalski, who was on pace for an All-Conference season and a possible state final appearance before an Achilles tendon injury ended his freshman campaign.
Idalski should make it to the state final this time around.
"Nathan has only gotten stronger and faster," DeHoog said. "He went to Camp Wolverine, and he learned running strategy and how to get stronger with better nutrition and stretching. He's learning more about running, and he runs all the time."
Sophomores Nathan Lawrence, Danny Mackowiak, T.J. Long, and Tyler Helzer, who was voted the most improved last year, are also back. The Cardinals have two newcomers in freshman Nate Kuznicki and senior Troy Boughner.
"The goal with them is to finish in the top half of meets," DeHoog said. "We want to improve because they're all sophomores. They're going to run faster because they were sick of finishing in the bottom half at meets last season.
"They're not to the point where they'd challenge for a championship, but my goal is for them to finish much higher in meets this year."
The Cardinals will compete in the D4 regional Oct. 31 in Gaylord.