The North Central Cross Country team was back at it again this weekend, with members participating at either the Firebird Invitational or the Run Michigan Cheap - Petoskey 5K at East Bay Park.

Ben Bollinger led the way in the local 5K, winning both his age group and the overall race with a time of 20:06. Following shortly thereafter, Hilary Way crossed the line in 20:20 to take the women’s race.

Placing 3rd overall, 2nd in the women’s race, and 1st in her age group was Natalia Taylor with a 22:03. Grace Laurence ran a 23:53 and finished 2nd her age group, while Sydney Bess rounded out the squad with 3rd place in her age group in a time of 34:03. For these members, the Run Michigan Cheap-Petoskey 5K was their first race of the season and proved to be an exciting and successful run, despite the cold, wet, windy conditions.

Representing North Central Michigan College at the Firebird Invitational hosted by Kirkland Community College were veteran runners Kenzie and Korrie Haas. Having just competed at this venue two weeks prior, they took their knowledge of the course with their increased training and saw good improvements on their times.

“The Firebird Invitational is a full conference meet for those teams in the Michigan Community Colleges Athletic Association,” said Athletic Director Ashley Antonishen.  “As North Central aims to build our programs and athletic offerings, being invited to participate in these high-level events really allows us to prepare and plan for the future.”

In a highly competitive race on a challenging course, both Kenzie and Korrie finished in the top half of all Michigan community college runners. Kenzie finished the 5 kilometer race in 19th place with a time of 22:51.6, and Korrie finished in 31st place with a time of 24:03.7.

Rod Anderson, coach of North Central’s cross country team, commented on the quality of effort for all runners in both races. 

“All our athletes have trained well over these past weeks, and each is now seeing the benefit of quality training," Anderson said.  “They have established goals, and have accepted and given the considerable effort it takes to improve and achieve those goals.  I am impressed with each person on this team.”

Next up, several members of the NCMC team will travel to Escanaba for the Bay College Norse Invitational on Saturday, October 10.