State placers Maliki Pope of Seaman and Maxx Bradley of Washburn Rural headline the 2017 All-City boys cross country team, selected by city coaches.
A junior, Pope was a city and regional individual champion and placed 12th in the Class 5A state meet while Bradley, a senior, posted top-four finishes in city, Centennial League and regional competition before finishing 13th in the 6A state meet.
Bradley was one of six runners that earned spots on the All-City team for Washburn Rural, which won its 11th straight city team title and finished second in the Centennial League and at regionals.
Joining Bradley on the All-City team are seniors Ian Cropp, Andrew Dekoekkoek and Jarred Thomas and sophomores Rylan Brown and Caleb Wright.
Washburn Rural coach Matthew Swedlund, a former star runner for the Junior Blues, was named the city coach of the year after his team added second-place Centennial League and regional finishes to its city championship.
In addition to Pope, Seaman is represented on the All-City first team by senior Nathan Heinen and junior Jace Mitchell while Shawnee Heights senior Hunter Henderson earned his fourth straight All-City honor and Hayden senior Parker Ramirez earned All-City recognition for the second time.
MAXX BRADLEY, Washburn Rural — Bradley had a solid senior season for the Jr. Blues, leading the way as the No. 1 runner for the team. Bradley’s third-place finish in the city meet helped secure an 11th straight team title. Bradley placed fourth-place finishes in the Centennial League and regional meets and he shattered his previous personal best at the 6A state meet, running a time of 16 minutes, 26 seconds and finishing 13th. Bradley received All-Centennial League and All-6A honors.
RYLAN BROWN, Washburn Rural — A sophomore, Brown turned in a strong offseason and bested his previous personal-best by a full minute and a half, posting his best time of the season at the state meet in 17:04. Prior to the state meet Brown logged solid performances in the city, Centennial League and regional meets placing in the top four on the team in each of those races. Brown was a second-team all-league selection.
IAN CROPP, Washburn Rural —In just his second year of cross country, Cropp’s commitment during the offseason was apparent. Cropp was in the Jr. Blues’ top seven all year, including top-five finishes in the final stretch of the season at the Centennial League, regional and state meets. Cropp, a senior, was eighth in the city meet before capping off his senior season with a season best-time of 17:24 at the state meet. Cropp received all-league honorable mention.
ANDREW DEKOEKKOEK, Washburn Rural — After a frustrating spring in which Dekoekkoek was sidelined the entire track season with an injury, he put in the time and effort over the offseason to prepare for cross country. Dekoekkoek’s dedication paid off in the form of a solid senior season. He ran a personal-best of 17:22, which bested his best time as a freshman by more than 30 seconds.
NATHAN HEINEN, Seaman — Heinen was a steady presence for the Vikings in his senior season. His season-best of 17:24 came in the 5A state meet. Heinen was eighth at regionals, 13th in the Centennial League meet and 12th in the city meet. Heinen is a two-time All-City selection. Heinen is also expected to be a key contributor in both basketball and track and field for the Vikings. Heinen received second-team all-league recognition.
HUNTER HENDERSON, Shawnee Heights — A senior, Henderson finished out his final cross country season with a fourth straight All-City selection. Henderson finished second in the city meet, ninth in the Centennial League meet and fourth at regionals. Henderson, a former state champion in track and state placer in cross country, was a state qualifier. Henderson has a personal best of 16:34. Henderson was a second-team all-league pick.
JACE MITCHELL, Seaman — Mitchell emerged as a varsity runner for the Vikings in his junior season, proving to be a steady third runner for a rebuilding Seaman team. Mitchell’s season was capped by personal best of 17:25 at the 5A state meet, which was 48 seconds faster than he ran as a sophomore. Mitchell placed 13th at regionals, 22nd in the Centennial League and ninth in the city meet.
MALIKI POPE, Seaman — Pope developed into an elite 5A athlete during his junior season, earning All-State honors with a 12th-place finish in a personal-best time of 16:10, good for No. 3 all-time at Seaman. Pope ran 1:12 better than his best time as a sophomore. Pope was the city boys individual champion, as well as the individual winner in the Lansing 5A regional. Pope placed fifth in the Centennial League meet. Pope was a first-team all-league selection.
PARKER RAMIREZ, Hayden — A senior, Ramirez is a two-time All-City selection. He posted a fifth-place finish in 4A regional competition, placed 11th in the city meet and was 28th in the state meet. Ramirez is also an outstanding student, earning a spot on the Academic All-State team. Ramirez’s personal-best time was 16:55. Ramirez received all-league honorable mention.
JARRED THOMAS, Washburn Rural — Thomas finished off his high school cross country career with a solid senior season. Highlights for Thomas included a fifth-place finish at the city meet and an 18th-place finish in the Centennial League meet. Thomas competed at state for the third year in a row, where he posted a personal-best time of 17:07. Thomas received all-league honorable mention.
CALEB WRIGHT, Washburn Rural — After an impressive freshman season, where Wright made his way onto the state team as an alternate, he was in the top five for the Jr. Blues all season and finished out the year as the team’s clear No. 2 runner. Wright finished fourth in the city meet, was seventh in the Centennial League and 13th at regionals. Wright registered his fastest time of the season at state with a time of 16:54. Wright was a first-team all-league pick.
Dawson Adams, fr., Hayden; Luke Bleidissel, jr., Washburn Rural; Jack Horacek, fr., Seaman; Cole Joy, sr., Shawnee Heights; Taegan Loy, so., Seaman; Jordan Tremblay, so., Washburn Rural.