2022 HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULE
Friday, August 26th at Benzie Invite
Friday, September 16th at Spartan Invite - 12:55 p.m.
Saturday, October 1st at Shepherd Invite
Saturday, October 8th at Portage Invite
Wednesday, October 12th at Mancelona Conference
Saturday, October 29th at East Jordan Regionals
Saturday, November 5th at Michigan International Speedway State Meet
J-L cross country sweeps small schools division at Benzie Invite
BENZIE — Like many of the Johannesburg-Lewiston athletic programs, the Cardinals' cross country team comes into the 2022 fall season with high expectations.
Returning most of its top performers from its Regional Championship winning 2021 team, with the girls finishing sixth and the boys finishing ninth at the MHSAA Division 4 state finals a year ago, the J-L team has lofty expectations for themselves individually and as a team.
Competing in their first 5k of the season at the Benzie Invitational on Friday, Aug. 26, those high expectations left some individuals leaving with bad tastes in their mouths, despite both the boys and girls teams claiming victories at the invite in the small schools (D4) division.
"While on paper things looked good, the kids were really bummed with how they performed," head coach Brenden Marcum said.
The team came in off of a productive summer, training and enjoying each other's company while taking their second team trip to Colorado.
According to Marcum, while the athletes came in physically ready to compete, there was a lack of urgency from the team, mostly by design.
"Almost no one was nervous for the meet, and while we all hate that feeling, it's pretty essential to prime the body for race day," Marcum said. "This was intentional as it felt like there was a bit too much pressure last year and so we wanted to try keeping things light to see how that worked. "
This year's approach was an overcorrection, in Marcum's eyes.
"The pendulum swung too far in the 'no pressure' direction and a lot of the performances suffered because of it," Marcum said.
While some individuals left with some extra motivation, others did have standout performances that helped drive J-L's teams to victory.
On the boys side, J-L had five of the top-ten finishers, with senior Jacob Wartenberg leading the way with a personal record of 16:39.9 and a first-place finish. The girls also had five of the top ten, with sophomore Allie Nowak finishing in second with a PR of 20:32.5.
Other standouts included Cora Mullins, whose 22:10 time beat her previous PR by over a minute, Ben Lauber, a freshman who finished tenth in his first high school 5k with a time of 18:11.9, and Mitchell Hall, a senior who upped his PR by over a minute (18:13) in just his second season running cross country.
"A lot was learned from the meet and we'll all be better prepared in the future because of it," Marcum said. "Like we've told them before, the most valuable races and experiences are the tough ones, because when things don't go right you have your best opportunities to learn and grow. When everything goes well it's just like the icing on cake; it feels great, but doesn't have much nutritional value."
The Cardinals' next meet is the Groen Meet on Tuesday, Sept. 6 with Gaylord St. Mary and Bellaire. Following that, the team travels to East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 16 for the Spartan Invite at Michigan State University.
J-L CROSS COUNTRY ARCHIVES