Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country ran to its sixth Division 1 state title and first since 2008 on Saturday in Brooklyn at Michigan International Speedway.
Junior Nick Foster ran a thrilling race for Pioneer over the 3.1-mile course, catching Rockford's Cole Johnson withing the last 50 meters to win the individual championship in 15 minutes, 16.1 seconds.
"When Nick came onto the infield, he must have been 40 meters back. He put on a show in the last 60," Pioneer coach Don Sleeman said.
Pioneer placed five runners in the top 35. Aldo Pando-Girard (15:16.1) came in 20th, John Florence (16:11.5) 25th, Jack Wallace (16:12) 26th and Philip Valtadoros (16:15.9) 35th.
"My senior Jack Wallace was having his best race ever, and some of my stronger runners were farther back than I would have liked, then over the last 800 (meters) John (Florence) must have passed 20 guys," Sleeman said.
The course was already soggy and well-tread by the time the Division 1 boys race was scheduled to start, and then it was delayed due to lightning. The ensuing rain made for an extra sloppy course.
"We ran really well for the conditions and really well as a team," Sleeman said.
Plymouth came in second, only three points behind Pioneer, with Carter Solomon (15:24.2) placing fifth.
White Lake Lakeland put two runners in the top 10 for a third-place finish. Harrison Grzymkowski (15:18.4) came in third and Drew Wegner (15:27) eighth.
Paul Mckinley, of Okemos, came in fourth with a time of 15:23.7.
Corunna's Ben Jacobs won the overall title in 15:35.9, and his team finished in second with 110 points.
Chelsea won the team championship with 96 points, placing two runners in the top 10. Tom Oates (15:39) was third and Jensen Holm (15:51.4) was eighth.
Lansing Catholic (165) was third, St. Clair (166) was fourth, Pontiac Notre Dame (206) was fifth, and Fremont (232) placed sixth including the second-fasted overall runner, Ben Schmidt (15:38.1).
Hanover-Horton (122 points) won the team championship, with Landon Melling placing third (15:54.8) and Bo Shepher eighth (16:20.9).
Caro's Yami Albrecht won the overall title for the second straight year with a time of 15:44.7, and his team came in second with 128 points.
Holland Black River came in third with 149 points, led by Sam Sharnas at 10 (16:22.1).
Jeremy Kloss finished second in 15:47.1.
Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart won the team championship with 126 points, paced by TJ Moore (17:03.6) who came in 18th and Chase Nelson (17:09.8) who came in 20th.
Cass City's CarLee Stimpfel won the overall crown in 16:07.1.
Potterville came in second with 185 points and Plymouth Christian's Luke Pohl was second overall in 16:13.2.
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.