Sophomores Puishes and Marinski lead the way for Cross Country teams
By Evan Paputa
Men’s and Women’s Cross Country head coach Ed Kozloff is not sure what to expect from his teams this season. This is largely due to losing all but two runners from a year ago.
Derek Puishes and Layne Marinski captain the men’s and women’s teams respectively. The duo return for their sophomore seasons after each captaining their repective teams as freshman last fall.
Kozloff knows the teams will only go as far as Puishes and Marinski’s leadership will take them.
Puishes was recognized for his grades as an Academic All-American last season and expresses good leadership characteristics according to Kozloff.
“Derek’s demeanor in workouts causes everyone to work harder,” Kozloff added.
Marinski enters the season with a nagging knee injury that will keep her out of meets until early October. She is taking on an extended leadership role while she is being sidelined early in the season. She holds a second practice for the runners that have class during the primary one.
Marinski continues to lead the team while at practice and is always encouraging her teammates.
“I try my best to keep up with my teammates when we are running, but sometimes I have to take little breaks,” Marinski said. “I am always cheering my team on when I can’t be running.”
Kozloff likes how Marinski is taking on more of a leadership role early in the season despite her injury.
“Layne has the determination to push her team,” Kozlof said. “She makes sure everyone is inspired to do their best.”
Sophie Schuetze hails from Traverse City and comes to Schoolcraft to compete at the community college level due to the lack of community colleges in that area. She has moved in with her grandmother to make it possible.
Ethan Levack and Jimmy Parks come in to Schoolcraft with winning experience. They were on a Class D Regional Championship team from Plymouth Christian Academy.
“We are expecting great things from Ethan and Jimmy this year,” Kozloff said.
Caton Hacker enters cross country following a stellar track career at Plymouth in which he excelled in short sprints and hurdles.
“The cross country races are certainly longer. I have trained longer and learned how to pace myself,” Hacker said.
Hacker ran in Benton Harbor’s Steelhead Ironman race on the first weekend of August which consisted of 75 miles total of competition in swimming, biking, and running.
“It definitely pushed me. Now I know why they call it an Ironman.”
Filling out the roster
Brandon Sutton (Taylor Truman) and Dan King (Livonia Churchill) enter the season following successful high school careers in other sports, basketball and wrestling respectively. King ran Cross Country as well.
“Brandon has showed perseverance and improvement for someone that has never run long distances before. Dan is always determined to better his high school times,” Kozloff said.
Rounding out the men’s roster will be Scott Howse. Howse is autistic and is the only autistic athlete to ever earn an Academic All-American award. This will be his sixth season on the team.