Panther Lakeside Invitational


OASIS LAKE (STERLING) - Sep. 9, 2008 - Standish-Sterling hosted its third annual Panther Lakeside Invitational on Tuesday, combining an early-season non-conference invitational with a lakeside picnic and optional post-run swim for the 113 competitors.

Ogemaw Heights' boys, a late addition to the field, won the boys team title with 22 points as they claimed six of the top nine spots. Martin Nelkie set a record for the fledgling meet with a run of 17:28, 20 seconds better than AuGres-Sims runner-up A.J. Baker (17:48).

The Falcons' other scorers were Brian Valley (3rd, 17:58), Mike Lentz (4th, 18:03), George Farmer (6th, 18:36) and Bob Brent (8th, 18:54), with Steven Wysocki close behind (9th, 18:58).

Standish-Sterling's Ryan Pickvet finished fifth (18:19), while Tawas Area's Guy Cotter was seventh (18:39). Pinconning's Derrek Lucynski (19:21) rounded out the top 10.

The host Panthers finished second in the team scoring with 84, followed by Fairview (93), Hale (127), Tawas (147), Pinny (155), Oscoda (163), Gladwin (173) and AGS (198).

SSC coach Dennis Pruder was pleased with is team's runner-up finish.

"We don't have a huge group of men but they take a lot of pride in their racing so to be second only to Ogemaw Heights in a nine-team field is pretty special," Pruder said. "I was really happy with the way Ryan ran with the lead pack. He's never afraid to take chances and that's what got him to the State Meet in '07.”

Qwinn Shorkey (12th, 19:43) really stepped us for us with his first PR under 20:00 and a medal. He's worked really hard all summer and it's paying off. He's worked hard in pack with Ryan and Cole Manning and it has showed for all of them. I love how the three of them have led the team this season."

As the final result showed, Ogemaw will be a heavy favorite once NEMC competition begins Sept. 16.

"The Ogemaw men will have a very tough team to beat," Pruder said. "They're well-coached and they work so well together.

"But this Panther men's team is very special because they take a lot of pride in their work and their improvement.

"I'm proud of the start our men's team has had. The expectation now is to improve on it."

Other team leaders in the boys’ race were Fairview's Nick Kalbfleisch (11th, 19:24), John Brant of Gladwin (14th, 20:03), Pinconning's Drew Hoder (15th, 20:09), Hale's Ryan Herzog (19th, 20:46) and Travis Taylor of Oscoda (20th, 21:26).

On the girls side, the Panthers (43 points) edged out Tawas Area (52) for the team title, highlighted by a race to the wire by the two frontrunners. SSC's Karina Pierce and Tawas Area's Emily Short ran away from the rest of the field, taking the top two spots by more than 40 seconds.

The race between the two was fitting for a pair of defending state qualifiers, as Pierce tried to pull away with about 200 meters to go and opened up a 25-meter lead heading down the stretch. Short's finishing kick nearly overcame all of that lead, though, as she cut most of it down over the final few strides and finished just .33 seconds off Pierce's winning time of 21:38.25.

" It's quite a statement to the willpower and determination of Karina Pierce and Emily Short that they can run a full 3.1 mile course and have a quarter of second separate them," Pruder said. "They'll be seeing a lot of each all year. They're both very special people."

Pruder was also pleased with his squad's team title.

"To win your home meet is very special," he said. "Ashley Pickvet, Ashley White, Sara Stanley and Karina took four of the top eight places. Courtney Pierce ran an excellent race from start to finish. "

Gladwin (99) finished third, followed by Pinny (101), Oscoda (133), Fairview (134), AuGres-Sims (162) and Hale (164).

"To go hard from the gun to the finish takes a lot of mental drive and pure stubbornness. I love how competitive they are and how they give every practice and meet their very best effort. Sara has really come on strong for us this season. The challenge is now going to be to get the middle of our order in shape. That is exactly where every meet seems to be won or lost."

Pickvet (4th, 23:09), White (7th, 23:29) and Stanley (8th, 23:36) each earned top-10 finishes for SSC. Other top finishers included Fairview's Camille Szubelak (3rd, 22:20), Tawas Area's Chelsea Smith (5th, 23:13), Pinconning's Emily Podgorniak (6th, 23:19) and Shannon McDougall (9th, 23:45) and Oscoda's Mary Wood (10th, 23:56).

Other team leaders were Hale's Kelsey Scott (13th, 24:28), Gladwin's Bekah Kreckman (14th, 24:31) and AuGres-Sims' Adriane Swaffield (24th, 26:39).


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