By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s cross country team has been slowly making noise over the past few years, and now coach Dustin Dees and assistant coach Shannon Smith have them on the cusp of breaking through. Both the Warrior boys’ and girls’ teams advanced to the second level and turned in maybe their strongest performances of the year at Decatur St. Teresa Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course but came up a bit short of taking the next step.
The girls’ team ended their season in 16th overall in a sectional that boasts four of the top ten teams in the state. Brynn Tabeling led the way taking 35th out over 150 runners and eclipsing the three-mile course in 20 minutes flat. Tuscola’s number two was Ashton Smith who ended her day in 66th by turning in a 21:09. Sophomore Hannah Hornaday turned in one of her best runs of the year as the Warriors’ number three with a 23:25.
Ten seconds back was the fourth scorer junior Hannah Lemay who was followed by second-year runner Kenzie Heckler scoring as the five and ending her day with a 23:53. Junior Faithlyn Daugherty and freshman Kyla Gough were the alternates. Six of the top seven runners on the girls’ team return next year for coach Dees.
Three seniors traversed the three-mile distance for the final time in the black and gold for the boys. Like they have all season long JD Barrett and Noah Woods led the way taking 30th and 43rd, respectively, while classmate Jordan Middleton competed as an alternate for coach Dees. Barrett entered the chute at the 16:38 mark; Woods was 21 seconds back, and Middleton broke the 20 minute plateau with a 19:39.
Junior Mason Day served as the number three taking 50th overall with a solid 16:59. Following him were freshman Logan Wallace crossing the line in 17:55 and junior Nick Woods who posted an 18:45. Sophomore Jake Dyer was the second alternate delivering a 20:03.