Baldwin Ottawa High's cross country teams had two reasons to celebrate Saturday at the Class 4A regional championships. The Cyclones earned both the boys and girls regional crowns.
Paola and Baldwin also qualified for the state championships. Paola took second place in both events while both Bulldog teams reached the state championships with a third place finish.
Six Ottawa runners finished in the top 10 in the girls race.
"They are tough," Baldwin High coach Mike Spielman said. "I think that they are the best team in the state and right now I don't think that anyone else would argue with me."
Ottawa's Rachel Fredricks and Bridget Morrisey finished 1-2. Fredricks turned in the fastest time of the day with a 12:33 in the 3,200 run.
"I knew Bridget was going to be my toughest competition," Fredricks said. "We're used to running 5A so everything's different. We really had tough competition and Baldwin really pushed us hard. I'm glad we did this well as a team."
Baldwin, already without Ann Martin who was competing at the volleyball sub-state in Lansing, lost their top runner Stacy Zuzzio. She collapsed during the race and did not finish. The injury was heat related and she did not need medical attention.
"Zuzzio had been one of our strongest runners," Spielman said. "Her not finishing the race was unexpected. But when it happened our other runners stepped it up."
Ottawa's Keith Fouts and Paola's Brian Blachly dueled for the boys lead. Fouts held the lead for the first half of the race. Midway through the course, Blachly started to gain on Fouts. He overtook him and finished first in 17:03. Fouts finished the 5,000 run in 17:13.
"I just decided to make a move just to see if he would come with me," Blachly said. "I was surprised to see he didn't come with me. From then on I just gave everything I had and I came out with the race."