Rapid River harriers are making good progress

RAPID RIVER — With two cross country meets already under their belts, the Rapid River Rockets are ready for more.

They won’t have to wait much longer as they continue their season in Wednesday’s Manistique Invitational at Intake Park.

The Rapid River boys opened with a fourth-place finish in the Jeffers Invitational at Atlantic Mine Aug. 28 and were runners-up to Gladstone in the North Central Invite Sept. 5.

“They’re progressing very well,” said coach Zach Truitt. “Our top five guys are within a minute of each other. We’re definitely going to make some noise this year.”

The Rockets, with 11 on their team, are led by junior Azariah Hernandez. He’s followed by classmate Garrett Novak, sophomore brother Ishmael Hernandez, junior Avery Closs and senior Nathan Olson.

“Azariah is the leader of our group,” said Truitt. “Garrett also helps lead the team and keeps the guys motivated. Ishmael helps recruit guys and does a real good job promoting the team. Avery has dedicated himself to cross country and is a stronger runner than last year and Nathan is the captain of our (varsity) football team. Nathan is a natural leader and the guys respect him.”

The girls are represented by sophomore Taylor VanOss, junior Arienna Spriks and freshman Madi LaChance.

“Taylor put a lot of time in during the summer,” said Truitt. “At North Central, she was 23rd a half-mile into the race and finished 13th, which was big for her. She had some physical issues which prevented her from running last year, but that has since been taken care of. Arienna did some running this summer and has lot of potential and Madi is doing real good. At first, Madi didn’t like doing more than two miles. Now she’s doing 5Ks and enjoying it.

“Overall, we have a good group of kids. They’re all very polite and respect each other.”

The remaining schedule:

Sept. 12 — at Manistique; Sept. 20 — at Stephenson; Sept. 25 — at Munising; Sept. 27 — at Ishpeming; Sept. 29 — Rapid River Invitational.

Oct. 4 — at Gladstone (Flat Rock); Oct 10 — Skyline Central meet; Oct. 20 — U.P. D-3 Finals at Munising.