The Fenton varsity cross country programs may have had the greatest regional meet performance in school history.
All the teams did was have one squad win a regional title, both teams comfortably qualify for the Division 1 state meet and both had an individual regional champion. If that wasn’t enough, 12 runners had personal best times between the two teams.
Fenton’s Alexa Keiser and Adam Jesse won individual regional championships and the Fenton varsity boys won their team regional championship highlighting an outstanding Saturday for the Tigers at the Saginaw Heritage regional meet. The girls also qualified by taking a very comfortable third-place team finish.
“We had one individual and one team champ in 2006 with Joe Dimambro and the guys in D2,” Fenton varsity cross
country coach Jesse Anderson said. “So to have both teams go, one win and two individual champs probably becomes our most successful regional weekend in our history.”
On a weekend with a bunch of highlights, Jesse and Keiser were the two biggest stars. Jesse won his first race since his sophomore season, taking the boys’ race in 16:01.36, about three seconds ahead of Saginaw Heritage’s Brady Neumann. Meanwhile, Kesier, who has won 24 races during her Fenton career, won her first regional race ever, taking the top spot with a time of 18:13.81, about 30 seconds ahead of Bay City Western’s Ashlyn Nagel.
“I was very happy for Adam,” Anderson said. “His last and only win in a high school cross country 5K race was his sophomore year in an early season race, but he was all-state last year and slowed the early part of this season by an injury. His workouts had started coming around and he showed a lot of faith in his abilities to set himself well over the first mile to compete for the win. Once he took the lead at about the halfway mark, the race was not in the bag as a couple athletes behind him also ran negative splits in pursuit. Adam hammered extremely hard the last half of the proceedings and simply ran the legs out from those behind him. He didn’t want to leave it up to a kick, and he didn’t let it come down to one. Very tough, strong race for him.”
Keiser’s race helped bring one honor she had yet to win — an individual regional title.
“This was a huge day for her,” Anderson said. “She’d won 23 races headed into this weekend, but never a regional. No girl in our history had, actually. She executed remarkably, running a textbook race and really pouring it on over the last half of the race. Twenty-seven seconds of her eventual 30-second margin was accrued over the last 1.1 mile, she really showed her unerring determination and toughness to keep hammering over the muddiest part of the course, all alone up front. I’m super proud of her career and so happy for her to get this huge accomplishment her senior season.”
The Fenton boys were dominant, earning each of their five scoring runners in the top 20, scoring just 55 points. That was 29 points better than second-place Davison.
Logan Canada took seventh (16:23.99) while Samuel Cox placed ninth (16:26.30). The rest of the top five were Micah Dekraker (18th in 16:58.74) and Remington Stapp (20th in 17:03.57). The other two varsity runners were Josh Maier (24th in 17:07.94) and Gage Bond (26th in 17:13.19). This was the program’s fourth regional title in history and second in Division 1.
“This was probably the best individual race I’ve seen our guys race since maybe the Metro League champs in 2016 in terms of expectations going in and just crushing them,” Anderson said.