By Lenny Sementi
Junior Jordan Middleton has been a solid team scorer for Tuscola’s cross country team this season, but Thursday, Sept. 28 that all changed. Middleton turned a corner and took the bull by the horns in a meet against a strong Monticello squad leading the Warriors’ pack while finishing fourth overall in a very strong field.
Middleton trailed only a pair of state placers from Monticello and Arthur and one of the top freshmen in the state turning in his second fastest time of the year and his season best time on a non-road course touring the tough Lodge Park course in 17 minutes and 33 seconds.
Next up for coach Dustin Dees were Michael Holmes and Noah Woods who crossed the finish line a in a dead heat at 18 minutes and 11 seconds. Bradley Kramer was next one back taking 12th overall out of 59 runners. JD Barrett rounded out scoring taking 17th helping the Warriors to a second place finish as a team out of seven squads trailing just the host Sages. Mason Day was just a few spots back in 20th with a solid 18:45 serving as the alternate for the boys’ squad. Sophomore Jake Dyer also found his way into the top half the field taking 29th overall, while freshman Nicholas Woods was just a few spots out of it taking 32nd.
Leading the way for the fourth place girls’ team in a loaded field was Brynn Tabeling. The freshman turned in a 21:16 to take seventh overall out of nearly 50 runners. Next up in Tuscola’s two-spot was junior Ashton Smith with a 23:10 to take 17th. Emma Zimmerman was the Warriors’ number three taking 25th, while Jackie Watson added the fourth team score in 30th, and Hannah Hornaday was the final scorer a few places back taking 32nd to round out the scoring. Hornaday has been nursing injuries most of the season and was a welcome addition for coach Dees and assistant coach Shannon Smith. Kenzie Heckler and Samantha Simpson were solid for coach Dees as well pounding the tree-lined paths as the alternates.