Pirate boys cross country team makes history with first state title.

November 8, 2022

Photo courtesy of Britney Ackley

Pirate boys cross country team makes history with first state title.

Hart’s Jessica Jazwinski wins the girls race.

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press.  

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Hart’s cross country teams once again made history Saturday, Nov. 5, at the state finals at the Michigan International Speedway under the long-time leadership of coaches Terry and Linda Tatro.

The Pirate boys team took home its first-ever state title, and Pirate sophomore Jessica Jazwinski won the girls race.

Jessica Jazwinski
MHSAA photo

The boys cross country squad is the first boys team for any sport in school history to capture a state title.

Hart boys captured the team championship with 116 points, beating runner-up Traverse City St. Francis by 31. The male Pirates were runners-up in 2020 and 2021.

Senior Clayton Ackley finished in second place overall, running the 5K race in 15:52.14.

“The team this year, it was really awesome. Six of the top seven were seniors, so I’ve been running with these guys since like seventh grade,” said Ackley in an interview with Catchmark Sports.

Hart had three runners break into the top 12. Following Ackley were senior Wyatt Dean in eighth place with a time of 16:20.05 and senior Seth Ackley in 12th in 16:27.51. Senior Caleb Bitely finished 44th in 17:17.71, and senior Easton Vander Zwaag in 116th in 17:58.80 to finish out the scoring for Hart. Senior Josef Bromley finished 126th at 18:04.30, and sophomore Max Stitt was 185th at 18:43.44.

Click here for full results.

The girls Michigan High School Athletic Association Lower Peninsula Division 3 girls race began after the boys as rain and wind intensified.

“As a distance runner, I really try to love the wind,” said Jazwinski in an article published on the MHSAA website. “Distance running and cross country is just a tough sport. The wind just adds to it — and the rain, too. It’s super fun. I was just thinking these conditions are just gonna feed my great race. This is real cross country. Yeah!”

Jazwinski overcame the elements to run the fifth-fastest Division 3 time ever, winning with a time of 17:36.70. She has two of the top-five times in Division 3 finals history, having run 17:31.4 to place third last year.

Clayton Ackley pictured at right.
MHSAA photo

“Today, my race plan was just to go out hard and try to hold on to my pace,” she said. 

Hart junior Alyson Enns was fourth in 18:28.52.

Sophomore Lexie Beth Nienhuis finished 68th with 20:54.15; Senior Abigail Pretty was 88th with 21:08.70; freshman Kenai Kokx finished 90th with 21:10.70; senior Savannah Owens was 127th at 21:42.29; and sophomore Lauren Pretty was 139th with 21:55.44.

The only downer for Hart was having its string of Division 3 championships end at five with a fourth-place finish. 

“I would totally trade my individual title for a team title,” Jazwinski said.

Traverse City St. Francis won the girls title with 134 points; Pewamo-Westphalia was second with 142; and Lansing Catholic third with 165.

Click here for full results.

Finishing as an all-state runner in 30th place overall place was Shelby senior Emma Soelberg at 19:50.70.

In the boys Division 4 race, the Pentwater boys team finished 15th. Falcon Junior Abe VanDuinen finished 35th at 17:28.54; junior Mitchel Daniels was 109th at 18:25.64; sophomore Kaleb Brown was 111th at 18:28; senior James Davis was 175th at 19:28.87; and freshman Wyatt Roberts, 186th at 19:47.27.

A parade in Hart is set for 5 p.m. today (Nov. 8) to celebrate the teams’ success.

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Photo courtesy of Britney Ackley

 

 

 

 

 

 

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