REED CITY — The Reed City Middle School cross country team had another strong season under the direction of coach Marcy Hammond.

“One of the reasons our high school team has been so successful over the last four years is the work ethic and training that the kids get from Coach Hammond at the middle school level," said RC varsity coach Rich Saladin. “This year is no exception. It has been fun to watch these young runners grow and excel over the course of the season.”

The middle school boys team took first place in four separate meets during the season. The boys were led by eighth-grader Gus Rohde, who won three individual races while finishing the season with a personal record of 11:47 in the two-mile races. Fellow 8th grader Ethan Nicklas ran a strong second to Rohde throughout the season. The girls brought home two team titles for the 2020 season. Eighth-grade runners Clara Smoes and Carly Carlson, along with seventh-grader Aubrey Vandawater, were the front runners for the girls.

Rohde, Nicklas, Smoes and Trevor Burgess were the team captains.

“They were amazing leaders and led by example," Hammond said. “They are all eighth-graders and we’ll miss them next year.”

Other eighth-graders completing their final year of middle school running were MacLean Chatel, Alaina Hanson and Kaylin Smoes.

“There are some real talented runners that will be coming up to the high school level next year," Saladin said. “They know how to work and they will fit into the program seamlessly.”

The middle school team had 32 runners this year between the boys and girls.

“They worked extremely hard. I could not ask for better, hard working kids," Hammond said. “They came to practice every day willing to give their best. It paid off in the end and each one of them improved throughout the season.”

The last event of the year featured the top seven runners for each team running at the Grabowski Invitational at Manistee. Thirteen of the 14 runners finished in the top 25 of their races and took home a medal for their efforts. Rohde, Nicklas, Burgess, Aaron Allen, Brady Dozier, Andrew Kiaunis, and Paul Saladin took home the boys title at Manistee.

The girls finished in third place with runners Smoes, Carlson, Vandawater, Hanson, Sahara Davis, Caelynn London and Chloe Tyler pacing the team.

“It’s a great pleasure to work with these kids and then watch them move on and have success at the high school level," Hammond said. “I’d like to thank the parents for their support. It’s great to be part of this program.”