Boys’ cross country team is running towards big goals this season

Maggie Quinn '22, Staff Writer

The boys’ cross country team has a long tradition of qualifying for the MHSAA cross country state finals, and this year is no different. 

With about 85 kids on the team, head coach Mark Sonnenberg believes there is a high chance of making it happen this year. To make this happen, his goal is to win a regional championship. 

“Right now we’re ranked second (in the region), but we could easily win, and I believe that based on the raw numbers,” Sonnenberg said. 

“I think we’ve got a lot of depth. I want to win a regional championship,” Sonnenberg said. “The boys’ cross country team has not won a regional championship in over 20 years. We’ve qualified for states plenty of times, but we’ve not won regionals in probably 20 years. And so we’d like to win the region, I think we’re in a good position to do so.”

Already, the boys are off to a quick start, finishing in 4th place at the prestigious Algonac Muskrat Classic meet, which was held at Goodells Park near Port Huron on Sept. 7.

According to Sonnenberg, he is passionate about his position as a coach. 

“My whole reason I coach is because I am in the business of building young men into the next set of adults,” Sonnenberg  said. “ I really truly believe that (through) cross country (and) long distance running, you are able to build young men through discipline and hard work, which is slowly starting to pay off.” 

Leading the way for the Blue Devils at Algonac invitational was Jack Hurst ’22, with a time of 17:18. He was closely followed by Abraham Abouljoud ’21. Also medaling were Brendan Downey ’23 and Jake Vallan ’22, according to the results from the Algonac Muskrat meet.

With a strong group of underclassmen, the team’s future looks very bright. The coaches for the team include head coach Sonnenberg,and assistant coaches Mike Novak and Ed Brock. Although several runners have already gotten injured this season, the coaches are working hard to keep the team healthy, basing their training on the book Jack Daniels’ Running Formula.

“We run about two or three workouts a week,” Runner Jack Michaud ’21 said. “Also, coaches have stressed the importance of hydrating, especially when it gets to be really hot, and the whole team bonding really helps as well.”

“I’m very excited about  (making States) because I could possibly be in the varsity lineup,” Jack Corrion ’21 said. “So I would be heading to States, and that would be a good opportunity for both myself and the team.”  

With this opportunity and the excitement that is coming along with it, the coaches have set some goals in mind in order to fulfill their dream of a successful season. 

“The regional championship is really what I like,”  Sonnenberg said. “I’d like to get the team back to States, so that’s my biggest goal for us.” 

In order to get to States, the team has to beat rival Grosse Pointe North and other schools such as Oxford and Anchor Bay in order to win . 

“I heard today that it would be our first championship in over 20 years,”  Michaud said. “We are all very excited to beat North in order to get that.”

The MHSAA state meet is set to take place on Saturday, November 2, at the Michigan International Speedway.