Not quite their day

Having a home-field advantage didn’t exactly bode well for the Alpena cross country teams on Tuesday.

Despite running on their home course, the Wildcats struggled and watched as Traverse City Central raced to victories both races of the Big North Jamoboree.

Central’s girls team took the top seven spots and had 10 of the top 11 finishers. Ashley Ko won the race in 19:07.6. Behind were teammates Joy Reist (19:58.5), Graceanne Tarsa (20:00), Courtney Stewart (20:03.3) and Jordan Mattarella (20:03.5) to round out the top five.

Central finished with 15 points, well ahead of second-place Traverse City West (71). Alpena finished sixth with 185 points. Petoskey was fourth (97) and Gaylord was fifth (112).

Alpena’s highest finisher was Alayna Nugent, who took 53rd after finishing in 23:09.4. Mikayla Oliver was 62nd at 23:30.7 and right behind her was Taylor Kunath at 23:31.1.

“It was discouraging a little bit. I knew our girls were going to be a little slower this year, but they didn’t mix in the pack like I thought they were going to,” Alpena coach Joy Bullis said. “But they’re young and they’re learning.”

Other finishers for Alpena were: Jenna Talbot (73rd, 24:01), Hannah McDonald (75th, 24:01.4), Dorothea Gottschall (82nd, 24:30.2), Lauren Heath (93rd, 25:12), Brooke Burrone (94th, 25:13.8), Leah Centala (99th, 25:27), Sarah Honeycutt (103rd, 25:46.4), Phoebe Woeciechowski (104th, 25:47.1), Emily Code (127th, 27:41), Ashley Krawczak (133rd, 28:27.4), Olivia Custer (134th, 28:30.8), Allison Benir (138th, 29:55.4) and Etta Kowalewsky (139th, 30:01.9).

Central’s Cam McAuliffe (16:55.5) won the boys race and the Trojans took the top three spots as well as six of the top eight.

Central’s Anthony Berry (16:55.7) and Kyle Dotterrer (16:56.1) were second and third respectively. Cadillac’s Phillip Merrell was fourth (17:13.8) and Petoskey’s Mark Smith was fifth (17:27.1).

Central had 19 points for the win. West was second (75), Alpena was third (89), Gaylord was fourth (115) and Cadillac was fifth (119).

Freshman Isaac Cross was Alpena’s top finisher, crossing the line in 17:52.4 for 14th place. Elisha Martin (16th, 17:55.6), Tellis Donajkowski (17th, 18:00.6) and RJ Centala (18th, 18:03.4) finished in the top 20.

“I have this group of boys where I never really know who’s going to be my 1, 2, 3, 4, which is good because they can fill in for each other if someone’s not having a good day,” Bullis said. “They ran good, just not quite what I was expecting.”

Other Alpena boys finishers were: Nevin McHarg (25th, 18:27.1), Clay Jacobs (26th, 18:28.9), Ryan Wirgau (40th, 19:08), John Smith (43rd, 19:19.4), Ben Diamond (45th, 19:24), Kolin Ghidoni (47th, 19:38), Bailey Barr (73rd, 20:44.5), Dallon Toth (88th, 21:18.2), Jacob Lewis (99th, 21:46) and Garrett McHarg (103rd, 22:00.8).