2018-08-23 / Sports

Leland harriers medal

SYDNEY RICHARDSON, left, gives encouragement to Arielle MacDonald before the Ryan Shay Memorial race. Photo: Jackie Anderson SYDNEY RICHARDSON, left, gives encouragement to Arielle MacDonald before the Ryan Shay Memorial race. Photo: Jackie Anderson “We had a successful first meet.”

This is what Leland first year coach Karen Kirt had to say about her team’s performance at the Ryan Shay Memorial Cross Country Invitational on Saturday.

The meet is held each year in memory of Central Lake’s 11-time state cross country and track champion, Ryan Shay, who passed away while competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City.

“The run was quite touching,” Kirt said. “Ryan Shay’s untimely death was an impetus for me wanting to run the New York City marathon. He collapsed in Central Park along the course route, and I am grateful to have been able to run in the marathon twice.”

Competition was open to Division 3 and 4 schools. It was run as a “season opener” two mile course.


ZACH FORTUNA poses with the Ryan Shay Memorial sign after the race. Photo: Karen Kirt ZACH FORTUNA poses with the Ryan Shay Memorial sign after the race. Photo: Karen Kirt The girls finished fourth out of seven teams, just 10 points behind the third place team.

“I am pleased with the enthusiasm and cohesiveness of the team as they enter the 2018 season,” Kirt said.

Kirt said the best part of the first meet was watching the Leland runners compete. Her message to the runners before the race: have fun. After the race, Kirt told the runners to rest and relax.

“They all did their best,” Kirt said. “It is only the first race of many for the season.”

Varsity and JV ran together and to determine the top 25 individuals for awards. The top seven finishers for each first place school were awarded medals.

Seven girls and four boys competed for Leland. According to Kirt, five runners for a boys or girls team overall are needed to earn a team score.

Senior Zach Fortuna medaled in Division 4, placing 24th. Sophomores Twyla Walters and Emma Waskiewicz were 15th and 16th, respectively, in the Division 4 girls race, and earned medals.

Freshman Arielle MacDonald ran in her first ever cross country race, and senior Justina May Schaub joined the team after not running since eighth grade. According to Jackie Anderson, MacDonald had never even spectated a cross country race before Saturday.

According to Kirt, Jayce Konopka from Suttons Bay represented the Norsemen as a cross country club member in the memorial race.

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