REED CITY – Reed City cross country coach Rich Saladin provided insight on his four runners participating at Michigan International Speedway.

Abbigail Kiaunis

“Abbie has qualified for the State Championships for the 4th consecutive year,” Saladin said. “She has had an incredible season finishing first overall in the CSAA Gold, 1st Team All-Conference, and placed 6th at the regional with a PR and new school record time of 18:58. Abbie is a naturally gifted runner that has continued to get better every year through hard work and dedication to the sport. She is a team captain and leads by example. She has a great attitude, always smiling, and just enjoys running and being with her team

“Abbie hits all the quintessential trademarks of racing – she gets out fast, picks up strength in the middle, and finishes with a great kick. She has an amazing stride and is durable. No matter how banged up she may be, she gets results. This is her 4th year running at MIS and she is familiar with the course. She has improved every year, including medaling with a 13th place finish in 2019. I think she compares well with the other racers and can push into the top ten this year. Abbie is a joy to coach and has been backbone of our team the last four years. She has committed to Southern Illinois University. We are looking forward to another great run at MIS.”

Nora Smoes

“Nora is the model of consistency,” Saladin said. “She is reliable and has gotten much stronger over the season. She ran an amazing race at regionals to get that last 7th place qualifier position. She was all-conference honorable mention for CSAA Gold. Nora gets stronger throughout the race. You can never count her out. She and her teammate Claudia had a great friendly rivalry and it made Nora a better runner. She put in a lot of miles over the summer and it’s paying dividends now. Getting to state was a big goal of hers this year and she did it.

“She has a strong, athletic stride and gains power throughout the race. At the Regional, she powered past four other runners over the last 800 meters to earn her ticket to MIS. She’s not flashy, but she gets the job done. This is her first time at MIS and our goal will be to run hard and finish in the top 50 percent of the runners. If anyone falters, Nora will be there to take advantage of it. Nora is an awesome teammate and a joy to coach. Her work ethic has produced great results and she is a perfect example of showing that hard work pays off. She is only a sophomore and we are lucky to have her for another two years.”

Anthony Kiaunis

“Anthony has had a spectacular freshman season,” Saladin said. “He was CSAA Gold honorable mention all-conference. He now owns the 11th best time in school history and is going to state in his first year. He medaled at regionals. Anthony is a workhorse. He craves for the opportunity to run and puts in a lot of miles. His endurance over a race and ability to push himself has led to success. His endurance over the length of the race is pretty special. He starts fast and is not afraid to lead. He maintains his strength throughout the race and his kick is improving.

“Anthony is running his best of the season right now. I think he may surprise a few folks on Saturday. He has watched his sister run at MIS and knows what it takes to be successful. I think he’ll be in the top 20 percent with a chance to even possibly medal. We’ve ran some challenging courses over this season and Anthony embraces that challenge and has run some of his best on the courses with rolling hills. He and Ryan finished the regional milliseconds apart and are the two top freshmen from the region.”

Ryan Allen

“Ryan has had an outstanding freshman season,” Saladin said. “He was all-conference honorable mention for CSAA Gold. He owns the 12th best time in school history and medaled at the regional. Ryan has great form and a great cadence for running. He put in a lot of miles over the summer and was ready to run fast on the first day of practice. That has paid huge dividends over the season. He has great work ethic.

“Nothing bothers him – he goes out hard and gets stronger throughout the race. He’s a great athlete and his kick is superb. You can tell that he just generally enjoys running but when it’s time to compete, he’s locked in and ready. Like Anthony, Ryan is running his best right now. That’s what we hope for. They run together and push each other throughout the race. I think Ryan will have a great race, finish in the top 20 percent, and push for a medal. Ryan has run his best on challenging courses with great competition. His performance at the Falcon Invite at the Eagle’s Nest is a great example. He is strong, durable and loves the hills. He and Anthony are two of the top freshmen in our area and region.”