Second Half reports
BROOKLYN — There’s more than one way to be a champion in a sport like cross country.
Caro junior Yami Albrecht had already experienced becoming an individual title winner last year at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final.
It was obvious which championship would mean the most to him after he repeated Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
“Did you see the team score?” he asked reporters a few minutes after he finished.
Caro was ranked No. 2 in the state, looking for its first MHSAA championship since 1980, but had to settle for second place by six points behind top-ranked Hanover-Horton. Hanover-Horton scored 122 points to win its first MHSAA title after finishing a program-best third in 2014 and 2016.
“I’d rather win as a team than by myself, to be honest,” Albrecht said. “It’s just a lot more fun. The whole team can celebrate about it.”
The Tigers will have to settle for celebrating another individual title by Albrecht and their best finish since winning Class B 37 years ago. It also was the first time Caro, which didn’t run a senior Saturday, had made the top five in back-to-back years.
Albrecht, who didn’t begin cross country until his freshman year, finished in 15:44.7 to hold off a late charge by Harbor Springs junior Jeremy Kloss. Kloss, last year’s Division 4 runner-up, took second in 15:47.1.
“When I first started running, I never really imagined this,” Albrecht said. “It’s amazing, the team we have. All of the guys work together every day and are committed. Our coaches run with us every single day; you can’t always have that where the coach can actually be there with you.”
Albrecht broke away from a pack of four or five runners late in the race. One of those runners was Kloss, who had never faced Albrecht before Saturday.
“I knew if I wanted to get what I wanted, I’d have to stick with him and stay right on his tail,” Kloss said. “It was real helpful with a tough group of guys up front. We all swapped. One person would go first, then another one. It was real helpful. I owe it to them. Last year’s state champ, Yami, is impressive. He’s a real tough kid.”
Senior Landon Melling was third in 15:54.8 and senior Bo Shepherd was ninth in 16:20.9 to lead Hanover-Horton. Completing the scoring were Andy Swihart (42nd, 16:57.7), Bradley Guenther (47th, 17:03.9) and Donovan Kennedy (70th, 17:15.4).
Holland Black River was third with 149 points.
PHOTOS: (Top) Caro’s Yami Albrecht (415), Harbor Springs’ Jeremy Kloss (466) and Hanover-Horton’s Landon Melling (460) push each other late in Saturday’s Division 3 Final. (Middle) Hanover-Horton’s Bo Shepherd (462) leads Saugatuck’s Nik Pettinga (553) and Holland Black River’s Sam Sharnas (484) down the final stretch. (Click for more from RunMichigan.com.)