Boys XC Wins at Tuscola Classic
Uni High cross-country coach Doug Mynatt knew his boys' team was talented heading into this season, but how that talent would team up and group together was unpredictable.
On Saturday, the Illineks showed they're getting the hang of forming a high-level varsity team, winning the Tuscola Classic with a top five of all freshmen and sophomores.
"I knew we had something coming," Mynatt said. "Having our No. 1 Nic Ramkumar leading them like he is, he's not giving up those spots. He's not giving up those spots to them. He knows they've got talent, but he's got talent, too, so it's nice to see him take the lead on that stuff."
Ramkumar, who was struggling with a cold, finished ninth, one spot and one second behind freshman teammate Aryan Lalwani, who finished eighth in 16:45.9. The Uni High runners were clustered together throughout the race, with sophomore Henry Kraatz and freshman Alex Dolcos finishing 17th and 18th.
"Now, they're finding their different groups (to run with)," Mynatt said. "I think the fact that we've got that talent up there and there are guys that want to be a part of that, that's what I was expecting going into the season."
Up at the front of the race, Unity's Cameron Woodard was happy to have competition around him with two runners by his side throughout the 3 miles. Woodard wound up finishing second in 16:22.7.
"It was just nice having the constant competition right there," Woodard said. "It was kind of nice because we were constantly pushing each other. ... We were constantly surging ahead of each other. They would get ahead and I would get ahead."
After missing out on state a year ago and narrowly missing out on making the 2015 Class 1A state championship team, Woodard hopes to make it this season.
If things continue on the same trajectory, he'll likely be joined by a gaggle of orange-clad runners.
"They're a state-caliber team right now," Mynatt said. "We'll see if that lasts for another month and a half. I don't want to speculate too much on the future, but the talent's obvious. You keep them together and you keep them healthy, good things happen."