REED CITY -- First-year runners Chad Zagacki and McKenzie Cornelius are getting the job done for the Reed City cross country team.

Zagacki, a senior who is out for the sport his first time, led his team last week against Evart with an 18:01 to take fourth place.

“I wanted to stay in shape for track,” he said, adding that he was able to get used to cross “real quick. Cross is a little bit harder and you need to stay focused more.”

Zagacki is figuring his start and finish are the strongest parts of his race.

“I need to be able to run constantly at a faster speed,” he said.

He’s hoping to get in the low 16s.

The Coyotes have had only four runners as of last week, one short of being a scoring team. Zagacki has been the top runner for his team as the top two racers.


Cornelius is a freshman who is a former middle school runner. Middle school races are about half the distance of high school races. She said she’s adjusted to the change.

“I need to work on my stride,” Cornelius said after getting a 25:22 in a dual at Evart. “I’d love to get down to the 21s.”

Working on her stride and pumping her arms will be a key. She’s working to improve on her last mile. Currently, the Coyotes have three girl runners, two shy for a scoring team. More girls would help in terms of pushing each other, Cornelius indicated.

“I definitely think it would help if we had more girls running,” she said.