(Photo by Al Gabalis) Caro cross country team members Yami Albrecht (right) and Zak Drews. Albrecht, just a sophomore, earned the Division 3 individual state championship Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in a career-best time of 15:47. Drews also earned all-state with a 22nd-place effort. The duo helped the Tigers to a fifth-place team showing.

Unprecedented: State champions head All-Advertiser Cross Country Team

Yami Albrecht and CarLee Stimpel had some memorable races against each other this year.

But Caro and Cass City are in different cross country divisions this season, which meant they didn’t meet at the state finals — so neither had to settle for second place.

Caro’s Albrecht won the Division 3 state meet, and Cass City’s Stimpfel won in Division 4. The duo highlight this year’s All-Advertiser Boys’ Cross Country Team.

In fact, the entire team is made up of Caro and Cass runners. Caro’s  Zak Drews and Caleb Cotton combined with Albrecht to help the Tigers to a Tri-Valley Conference championship, regional championship and fifth-place state showing. Led by Stimpfel and All-Advertiser teammate Zane Wright, Cass City took 11th in Division 4.

The All-Advertiser Girls’ Cross Country Team was highlighted by North Branch senior Heather Czarnecki and Frankenmuth junior Hannah Loucks.

One thing that both the boys’ and girls’ team have in common is youth. There are only three runners, out of 20, that are seniors on the all-Advertiser teams.

Here is a look at this year’s crop of top Advertiser-area runners.

Boys team

Yami Albrecht
Yami Albrecht

Athlete: Yami Albrecht

School: Caro

Grade: 10

2016 best time: 15:47

Highlights: Division 3 state champion; set personal record in each of his last three races; regional champion; runner-up at Thumb Area Cross County Championship; winner at TVC “big meet” Championship; took first place at Reese XC Invite, Linden Classic, Mike Jackson Memorial and Bret Clements Bath Invitational; led Caro to fifth-place D-3 finish.

CarLee Stimpfel
CarLee Stimpfel

Athlete: CarLee Stimpfel

School: Cass City

Grade: 10

2016 best time: 15:39

Highlights: Division 4 state champion; won each race in which he participated with the exception of two, the MSU Spartan Invite (Stimpfel placed eighth in a field that included many of the state’s best D-1 and D-2 teams) and Reese XC Invite where he finished second to D-3 state champ Yami Albrecht; 2016 championships include: D-4 regionals, GTC Meet, Thumb Area Cross Country Championship and Portage Invite; led Red Hawks to 11th-place at D-4 state meet.

Zak Drews
Zak Drews

Athlete: Zak Drews

School: Caro

Grade: 12

2016 best time: 16:15

Highlights: Earned Division 3 all-state for the second consecutive year with a 22nd-place finish; won TVC-East Jamboree No. 1; placed fourth at TVC “big meet” Championship; fifth place at Thumb Area Cross County Championship; third at D-3 regional; No. 2 runner for Caro at D-3 state finals, helping the Tigers to fifth place.

Zane Wright
Zane Wright

Athlete: Zane Wright

School: Cass City

Grade: 11

2016 best time: 17:05

Highlights: Missed earning all-state honors by one spot, finishing 31st at Division 4 state championship; No. 2 runner for the Red Hawks, who placed 11th in the state; runner-up to teammate CarLee Stimpfel at GTC championship; placed second at Cass City Invitational and third at Ubly Invite; took third at D-4 regional meet.

Caleb Cotton
Caleb Cotton

Athlete: Caleb Cotton

School: Caro

Grade: 10

2016 best time: 16:52

Highlights: Placed 74th at Division 3 state meet, helping Tigers to fifth place; took sixth at D-3 regional meet; finished 20th at TVC ‘big meet” Championship; improved from 10th place at first TVC-East Jamboree to fifth at third TVC-East Jamboree; took ninth at Thumb Area Cross Country Championship.

Second team

Aaron Hulbert (So.) Caro

Bryden Miller (So.) Caro

Austin Pung (Jr.) Cass City

Donald Dunn (Sr.) Marlette

Lane Torrey (So.) Kingston

Girls’ team

Heather Czarnecki
Heather Czarnecki

Athlete: Heather Czarnecki

School: North Branch

Grade: 12

2016 best time: 19:41

Highlights: Thumb Area Cross Country meet champion; took first in last two TVC-East meets; fourth place at Division 4 regional; won LakeVille Invite and Lapeer County Press Invitational; took third at TVC “big meet” Championship; placed No. 98 at D-2 state meet.

Hannah Loucks
Hannah Loucks

Athlete: Hannah Loucks

School: Frankenmuth

Grade: 11

2016 best time: 19:44

Highlights: Division 3 all-stater with 28th-place finish; took first place at TVC-East Jamboree No. 1; was fourth at TVC “big meet” Championship; placed fifth at both the Saginaw County Cross Country Championships and D-3 regional meet; helped Eagles to 18th place at state meet.

Sophee Robinson
Sophee Robinson

Athlete: Sophee Robinson

School: Reese

Grade: 10

2016 best time: 20:02

Highlights: GTC champion; missed out on Division 3 all-state by one place, finishing 31st at state championship; won USA Invite; took eighth at Thumb Area Cross Country Championship; placed second at D-3 regional.

Riley Ford
Riley Ford

Athlete: Riley Ford

School: Marlette

Grade: 9

2016 best time: 20:00

Highlights: Placed 53rd at Division 3 state championship; runner-up at GTC meet; won first meet of the year — the Brown City Invite; took sixth at Thumb Area Cross Country Championship; placed second at D-3 regional meet.

Samantha Rapson
Samantha Rapson

Athlete: Samantha Rapson

School: Frankenmuth

Grade: 9

2016 best time: 20:14

Highlights: Showed great improvement over the course of freshman season, emerging as the Eagles’ No. 2 runner; placed 123rd at Division 3 state meet, Frankenmuth finished 18th; took eighth at Saginaw County Cross Country Championship; was seventh at D-3 regional.

Second team

Kallie Lindow (Fr.) Frankenmuth

Zoe Nierink (So.) Frankenmuth

Allison Hawken (Fr.) Reese

Madeline Horton (So.) Millington

Victoria Hale (Sr.) Kingston

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