Bay gets XC start

ESCANABA — With their inaugural cross country season under their belts, the Bay College Norse hope to take running to the next level this fall.

The Norse, with six women and five men on their roster, open in Friday’s Spartan Invitational at Michigan State University.

“We have a little more experienced team this year, which I think will help a lot,” said coach Jim Murtha. “We have people who’ve been there and done that and kids who ran cross country in high school. We’ll be running against everybody down there. It will be fun running against Northern Michigan and Michigan State and everybody else. The kids are pretty excited. It should be a fun weekend.”

The women return sophomores Zoie Berg and Katie Coombs of Gladstone.

“We’ll rely on them quite a bit,” said Murtha. “Zoie has put in a lot of work and is looking good in practice. She’s way ahead of last year. Katie has trained for fitness competition and is in better shape than last year.”

Incoming freshmen include Escanaba’s Lauren Cousineau, Munising’s Lauren Peters and Gladstone’s Jody Peters and Sage Sisson.

“Lauren (Cousineau) trained quite a bit and did some area road races this summer,” said Murtha. “She’s also in good shape. Saige enjoys running at Beauchamp’s (Grove) and on the cowpath in Gladstone. She just didn’t like running on the track. Lauren (Peters) did cross country and track in high school and Jody ran track. They’re nice additions to the team.”

Cheboygan’s Steven Magnuson is the lone men’s returner. Newcomers are Gladstone’s James Young and Trent Marenger, North Central’s Connor Robinson and DeVonte Grier of Griffin, Ga.

“Steve also ran during the summer,” said Murtha. “Having run last year, he knows what to expect. He’s also ahead of pace.

“We have a nice group of guys. We had a practice race last Friday to see where we’re at. We’re feeling good about the season.”

Following their opener, the Norse host their invitational Sept. 22 at Beauchamp’s Grove in Flat Rock.

The schedule:

Sept. 14 — Spartan Invitational at MSU; Sept. 22 — Bay College Invitational; Sept. 29 — Roy Griak Invitational at Minnesota.

Oct. 6 — Gene Davis Invitational at Lawrence University; Oct. 13 — UW-Oshkosh Invitational; Oct. 19 — U.P. Championships at NMU.

Nov. 10 — NJCAA Division 2 Championships at Garden City, Kan.