Lake Fenton — Caleb Fletcher didn’t care too much for building Lake Fenton’s first-ever on-campus cross country course in school history this summer.
“It was a pain because Michigan soil stinks,” Fletcher said. “We were drilling for four hours just to get four posts in, one an hour.”
But now that the work is complete and the team has used its course twice this season, he’s glad to see it done.
He also was probably pretty glad to see how he and his teammates did in a meet with Bendle, Durand and New Lothrop on Tuesday on that course. Fletcher won the race with a time of 18:28 on the 5K course, Meanwhile, the Lake Fenton boys defeated New Lothrop 21-35 and Bendle 22-37 in GAC action.
The Lake Fenton girls also edged out New Lothrop 29-30.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Fletcher said about having a home course. “It’s nice to know the hills. It’s a really good advantage. We worked really hard on it, so it’s really awesome to have a home course. It’s worth it.
“Being at home, you have your friends there. They are there to support you and you are motivated to run even harder than you usually do because the people love you.”
Lake Fenton cross country coach Chris Sobczyk enjoys having the course as well.
“Having the course is awesome,” Sobczyk said. “Especially today, seeing four teams out there. It creates more excitement. It’s more spectators and more runners. I’m a little bit more comfortable (running the meet). The first one was nerve racking.”
Fletcher battled with Bendle’s Tim Kimble all race long for the top spot. With about 500 meters left, he took the lead for good and stretched out his lead from there, winning by seven seconds.
“I felt awesome,” Fletcher said. “I think I ran a really smart race. I didn’t go out too fast in the first mile.”
Fletcher’s younger brother, Jake Fletcher, was fourth overall in 18:52, breaking the 19-minute mark for the first time this season.
“Jake Fletcher broke into the 18s today. We knew he was probably going to do pretty good, but a drop into the 18s at this point of the season as a freshman is really good,” Sobczyk said. “He started maybe in the low 21s. It was just a matter of him figuring out how to race. He probably could’ve run a minute or two minutes faster (at the start of the season) but he was just learning how to run a race.”
The rest of Lake Fenton’s scorers were Winston Ray in seventh (19:24), Dillon Cullimore in 10th (19:40) and Jasper Lindsay in 12th (20:23).
“They are coming on strong. Their times keep dropping,” Sobczyk said. “There are kids that ran the two mile in track and they are almost running faster in the 5K than they did in the two mile. OK maybe not literally. They are coming on strong. Every one of the guys’ times keep dropping, dropping and dropping.”
The Lake Fenton girls were led by Becky Fernelius, who placed third in 21:51, about 12 seconds behind Durand’s first-place runner Jamie Madrigal. The rest of Lake Fenton’s female team scorers were Laura Carlson in fourth (22:21), Mackenzie Kato in sixth (22:42), C.J. Simon in 19th (27:44) and Logan Dailey in 24th (28:40).
“As a team it has been a tough year in the GAC for the girls so it was nice for them to get the win,” Sobczyk said. “I challenged them to defend their home course and they did.
“Becky Fernelius ran really well, earning a PR over her performance at the state meet last year. I have been working on pacing with her and she was able to run even seven-minute splits. I definitely think she benefitted from running on her home court.”