By Lenny Sementi
Brisk winds and cool temperatures didn’t slow down coach Dustin Dees’ boys’ and girls’ cross country squads this past Saturday. Both of Dees’ teams punched their ticket to the sectionals with gutsy performances in the Tuscola Regional at Wimple Park. Seniors JD Barrett and Ashton Smith both led their respective teams each turning in personal course records despite the conditions.
Barrett took 14th overall, leading the Warriors to a fifth place finish as a team securing advancement to the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional. Smith was out front for the girls taking 33rd, helping the Lady Warriors to a sixth place finish as a team also earning advancement to the St. Teresa Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course this Saturday. The girls launch at 10 a.m., and the boys take off at 11 a.m.
“We had a lot of course records today,” stated the coach, “which is outstanding. The wind was gusting upwards of 40 mph. Simply put, we had a great day, both groups kept grinding through the wind and both move on to the next round. Reaching the Sectional level was a goal of ours and here we are.”
Barrett, Noah Woods, and Mason Day rubbed shoulders with the lead pack for most of the race and, in the end, set the tone for the Warriors. All three runners set personal course records finishing no worse than 21st out of 100 runners. Barrett entered the chute in 16 minutes and 56 seconds. Woods was next a few spots back in scoring 16th place points posting a 17:09. Day was the number three for coach Dees taking 20th with a time of 17:24.
“The boys were paced by a three headed monster,” quipped the coach. “They led the way for us battling from start to finish.”
Next up was freshman Logan Wallace, who ended up in 47th in the team race with a time of 19 minutes flat. Jake Dyer was the fifth and final scorer for Tuscola taking 52nd crossing the line in 19:10. Nick Woods and Jordan Middleton both finished in under 20 minutes serving as the alternates.
“Our girls had a great pack effort today,” commented the coach. “Our third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh runners stayed together most of the race all finishing within 40 seconds of each other.”
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Oct. 24 edition of The Tuscola Journal.