post-Elmar Engholm era at Plymouth High School is going a lot better
than a lot of people thought possible.
Minus Engholm, last year's phenomenal No. 1 runner who moved back to his home country of Sweden, the Wildcats are doing just fine.
On Saturday, coach Jon Mikosz's squad placed second at the Region 5 meet to qualify for Saturday's Division 1 state meet at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
The Wildcats accumulated 71 points, 48 more than first-place Ann Arbor Pioneer. Ann Arbor Huron also qualified for the state meet with 79 points. Fourth-place Canton just missed with 87 points.
Salem finished fifth with 158 points.
The second-place Regional finish was the best-ever in Plymouth history, Mikosz said.
"We had a good overall day," said Mikosz. "Joe Porcari stepped up big-time and showed that he is one of the top runners in the area and can compete with the top guys in the state.
"These guys have put a lot of time and effort into this season and it showed on Saturday. I think we have the ability to finish in the top 10 team-wise in the state."
Porcari continued his season-long excellence for the Wildcats, placing third with a time of 16:15.3, less than 18 seconds behind overall winner Nathan Karr of Pioneer. Adam Kern of Pioneer was the runner-up in 16:08.4.
The Wildcats also received points from Matt Neumann (seventh in 16:37.1), Warren Buzzard (14th in 16:57.9), Derk Gielarowski (16th in 17:01.6) and Jimmy Maciag (31st in 17:45.1).
Canton was paced by a pair of individual state-qualifiers: sophomore Miles Felton, who placed 10th in 16:51.9; and Paul Rakovitis, who finished 13th in 16:57.5.
Also scoring for Canton were Keith Zech (18th in 17:05.3), Zack Spreitzer (22nd in 17:21.3) and Mitch Clinton, who finished 24th in 17:25.2.
Salem's Mike Charara capped a stellar high school career by placing 23rd in 17:23.4.
Also scoring for Salem were freshman Steven Mcevilly (27th in 17:37.2), Jimmy Daniels (32nd in 17:48.5), Robert Cowing (37th in 18:08.6) and Andy Rabe (39th in 18:14.6).
Ed Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 453-1980.