Grayling cross country runner earns third state finals berth with 2nd place finish at regionals on Saturday
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
One Grayling High School cross country runner – Brianna Martin, a senior – qualified for the state finals on Saturday with a second place finish during the Region 19-3 meet hosted by Michaywe Pines Golf Course.
Martin posted a time of 19:42.02, breaking her own Grayling High School record for fastest finish in a girls cross country race. She has now reset the record several times this season.
Coach Justin Andre said Martin was seeded ninth going into Saturday’s Region 19-3 meet, so her 2nd place finish (out of 85 runners from 12 different schools) “was kind of a big surprise.”
“A personal record, another school record. She ran a very exciting and smart race. She was bound and determined to make states again,” Coach Andre said.
Martin is now a three-time state qualifier; she qualified last year as a junior for Grayling, and she made it in 2016 as a sophomore for Gaylord.
Before the race started, Martin told her coach that she would qualify, but she admitted after the race that she was “worried.” Martin knew there would be a lot of good runners near the top.
“I was not confident,” she said.
Only the top 15 runners at regionals advance to the state finals. Toward the end of the first lap, Martin was in the middle of a pack of runners vying for second place, and within reach of the leader. During the second half of the race, Martin put some distance between herself and the rest of the group.
“The second lap I felt good,” Martin said. “Senior year, I was going to try to win this.”
She didn’t catch the leader, but Martin maintained her lead over the others and placed second.
Other placements and times for Grayling High School’s varsity girls runners on Saturday included: 42nd, Cecelia Cvitkovich, 22:58.88; 47th, Katelyn Moore, 23:07.36; 74th, Sarah Rakoczy, 26:23.29; 76th, Robin Long, 26:36.63; 81st, Kaitlyn Hall, 27:36.44; 82nd, Madison Hall, 29:51.99.
The boys did not have a state qualifier this year. Caden Arredondo came close, posting a finish of 19th place with a time of 17:52.88.
Other finish times and placements for the Vikings: 40th, Ryan Anderson, 19:10.23; 44th, Kendall Tomczak, 19:14.68; 54th, Jeffery Kennedy, 19:52.77; 57th, Cameron Ketchum, 20:02.61; 58th, Klay Baker, 20:03.56; 60th, Trevor Rakoczy, 20:07.19.
The boys finished 8th out of 11 teams at regionals. The Grayling girls were 9th out of 12 as a group on Saturday.
“Both boys and girls teams had a great season this year,” Coach Andre said. “I’m proud of everyone.”
Coach Andre said the Vikings “still have a very young team” and a lot of potential for success next year.
The squad will be losing Martin, Anderson, and Tomczak to graduation.
“It will be hard to fill their shoes,” Coach Andre said.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals for cross country (Lower Peninsula) will be held on Saturday, November 3, at Michigan International Speedway.