by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Rogers City senior Emily Malocha put an exclamation point at the end of her cross country career with her second-straight Division 4 all-state medal in Brooklyn.
Malocha, who made it to the state finals four years in a row, ended up in 16th place, which is 11 places better than 2015. Her time was 20:02 in the race.
“I could not be prouder of that young lady, Saturday,” said Huron coach Rob Kortman. “She ran her heart out.”
Weather conditions were ideal at the Michigan International Speedway.
“It was probably one of the best weather days I have had in the 13-plus years I have been going down,” said Kortman.
However, the course was wet, soft and slippery, which Kortman believes helped Malocha move up the medal stand.
“We are used to running on stuff like that,” the coach said. “We run a lot of tough courses. I like to have my runners on terrain that’s not pristine like a golf course.”
Her times along the course were: one mile, 6:07; two mile, 6:33; three mile, 6:50.
One of the highlights was overtaking an Inland Lakes runner, who finished third at the Gaylord regional meet, just as Malocha reached the infield of the race track. There was still about one mile to the finish line.
“I was kind of nervous at first because I thought she would put up a good chase, but I was able to pull away from her before she got the chance,” said Emily, who was fourth at the regionals. “I was really happy and proud of myself for being able to place better than last year. However, I was a little sad that my time was just a few seconds from my goal.” She wanted to break the 20-minute barrier. Her best was 20 minutes flat at last year’s finals.
“Overall, I am super happy with how I ran,” said Malocha.
Ava Strenge from Battle Creek St. Philip won the state title with a time of 18:27.2.
Before Malocha, it had been 10 years since Rogers City had an all-state runner.
“I could not be more proud of her,” said Emily’s father Cory. “Qualifying for state four times is an amazing accomplishment, and earning two all-state medals is even more amazing.”
Malocha was the lone senior on the girls’ team, while Kortman will lose Jake Hilla and Zach Myers to graduation.
“I’m already looking forward to next year,” said Kortman. “I am going to miss Ms. Emily and my seniors, but we will build on what we have.”