When the Flint Metro League switched to a jamboree scoring system in 2010, it opened up the possibility of some dramatic championship stakes. With the first two contests weighted as 25% of a team’s standings, and the championship jamboree worth 50%, it wouldn’t take much imagination to dream up some interesting season-ending scenarios. The 2017 Boys XC Metro season delivered just that: with traditional rivals Linden and Fenton splitting the first two jamborees, Fenton was faced with the potentially daunting task of either winning the final Metro contest on Linden’s home course, or going home in 2nd place overall for the second time in 3 years. The Tiger harriers rose to the challenge on Wednesday, scoring 38 points at Linden Middle School to win their 2nd straight Metro League title, and their 10th total in the league’s 50 years of competition.
The Tigers were led by a familiar face in a familiar place: Sophomore Adam Jesse finished a rock-solid-consistent league campaign with his 3rd straight Metro runner-up showing, running a patient race that saw him reel in two runners over the last 2 miles to finish in 16:41 on the challenging course and within 12 seconds of another impressive run by Linden’s own sophomore sensation, Tyler Buchanan. Jesse’s trio of finishes saw him claim 1st-Team All-Metro plaudits and the 2nd overall spot in the league. Senior Sam Deardorff was next over the line, placing 4th in 16:56. While earning 1st-Team All-Metro points in the last two jamborees, an early season injury meant that Deardorff claimed 2nd team All-League honors, despite his top-of-the-league showings. Senior Mitch Chabot was the 3rd Tiger in the top 10 runners, stopping the clock at 17:14 in 9th place, one spot ahead of Junior teammate Nolan Day’s 17:21 effort for 10th. Day made it 4 Fenton harriers in the top 10 for the second straight Metro League Jamboree, the only team to do so in either contest.
Fenton did not let off the pressure there – Senior Peter Kennings, Sophomore Ben Sheffield, and Sophomore Logan Canada ran 17:29, 17:33, and 17:39, respectively, to place the entire Fenton squad in the top 17 places, specifically 13th, 14th, and 17th for each. In fact, Fenton had their entire team finish before Linden’s 4th runner, and any other team’s 3rd, displacing valuable points and putting the exclamation point on a strong day of racing from the squad, and an eventual 18-point cushion over runner-up Linden. All 7 runners on the day earned All-Metro honors for the season: Jesse, Chabot and Day on the first team, Deardorff, Kennings, and Sheffield on the 2nd team, and Canada in the 3rd team of honorable mentions. In fact, the Tigers, through a unique scoring quirk, became possibly the first Metro team ever to place eight runners in the All-Metro places, as freshman Sam Cox’s strong performances in the first 2 jamborees saw him garner enough points for honorable mention plaudits, despite being sat as a injury-related precautionary measure in the final contest.
The Tigers 10th team title in school history was their second outright championship since 2006, and their 2nd outright, 3rd total in the Metro Jamboree era. Following Wednesday’s successful conclusion to the league season, he harriers next travel to Hess Hathaway park in Waterford on October 28th to mix it up in one of the state’s strongest Division 1 regionals. Fenton will look to claim a spot amongst the top 3 teams on the day, which would secure them a trip to the Division 1 state finals at Michigan International Speedway, which would be their second D1 trip in school history.