Niles cross country teams finish sixth at Viking Stampede

DOWAGIAC — The 2020 cross country season kicked off with the annual Niles Viking Stampede, which was held at Dowagiac Middle School on Friday.

Due to Michigan High School Athletic Association and state of Michigan guidelines, Niles has had to move from its home course at Madeline Bertrand Park to Dowagiac due to a lack of space for social distancing while running.

The stampede also had to trim the field to six teams to meet the MHSAA mandate of only 70 runners per race. Spectators were also not allowed to attend the race.

“It was tough not having spectators at the meet,” said Niles girls coach Jami Roden. “It was a very strange feeling and hard on the girls to not have their parents there. Hopefully upcoming meets will allow spectators.”

Niles finished sixth in both the boys and girls races.

Battle Creek Harper Creek won the boys title, while Marshall won the girls championship. Plainwell was the runner-up in the boys event and Harper Creek in the girls.

Lakeshore’s Race Bettich was the individual champion in the boys race with a time of 17:17. Eli Veen of Plainwell was second with a 17:33, and Josh Mauer of Harper Creek third with a 17:48.

The Vikings’ top finisher was Aiden Kruger, who was 23rd with a time of 21:47.

In the girls race, Madison Berning of Harper Creek took first with a time of 21:05. Hannah Richmond of Paw Paw was the runner-up with a time of 21:06, while Emily Peters of Lakeshore was third with a 21:19.

The top Niles finisher was Cassandra Shortman, who finished 15th with a time of 24:11.

Complete results are available in Daily Data at leaderpub.com.

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