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September 05, 2013
The Grosse Pointe North girls’ cross country team officially opened the 2013 season last week, beating Warren Mott 20-38.

Mott is coached by a former teammate of North head coach Scott Cooper, Mark Urquhart.

The Norsemen’s top finishers were Julia Rustmann, Katelyn Carney, Natalie Schaefer, Maddie Gafa, Maddy Denison, Audrey Kam, Quinn Pangborn, Keri Hryciuk, Maria Fisher, Cate Troost, Sarah Cherry and Marie Bourke.

“Carney and Schaefer led for most of the race until the final mile when Julia Rustmann took over ran away with the race,” Cooper said. “Maddie Denison is showing great promise already as she has already beaten her top performance from last season.

“It also great to see another senior, Maddie Gafa, rising to the top of the roster through a lot of hard work.”

Last weekend, North competed in the Oakland University Invitational, placing three points (123 – 126) out of third place in the 21-team field of talented schools.

It was a hot and humid day that made times slower and efforts painful.

The Norsemen’s top runners were Sarah Rustmann, Carney, Schaefer, Julia Rustmann, Alaina Streberger, Hryciuk and Denison.

“Sarah Rustmann had been out with an injury and had yet to race for us,” Cooper said. “She was just getting back into stride in practice so I was not expecting a huge race from her today. But a huge race is what she turned in. She was a lone Norseman earning a medal.

“Our top group looks very strong, led by three seniors, Rustmann squared and Schaefer. Add to that the great young talent of Carney and we have a terrific four up front. Our fifth, and final scoring position, is in good shape as well with several talented runners fighting for that spot.

“Schaefer has shown great leadership skills on this team as captain. One day at practice during the very first week in our stretching circle, I asked Nat if she could name all 63 of her teammates. She turned and pointed at each one without a pause and rattled off all their names without making a single error or even pausing to think. She earned a lot of respect that day from her coaches and 63 young admirers.”

For the boys, they also competed in the Golden Grizzly Invitational at Oakland University. This meet featured some of the best teams in the state.

The Norsemen finished 17th of 25 teams and the top finishers were Connor Sickmiller (17:42), Daniel Brady (18:56), Joe Ciaravino, Alex Brady and Pearce Reickert.

“We have some work to do yet, obviously, as I was hoping to finish higher up in the team scoring,” head coach Diane Montgomery said. “Having a relatively young team (two out of three of the top finishers for us were injured for at least 1/2 the season last year and the third is new to CC all together), I think we will see vast improvement over the course of the season. I’m still very optimistic about our chances in the division and the region.”

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