Cross Country: Key returnees boost Big Bay de Noc

GARDEN CORNERS – With the return of three key runners from a year ago, the Big Bay de Noc boys have hopes of fielding a competitive cross country team this fall.

The Black Bears, who open Wednesday at North Central, have seven boys and three girls on their roster.

“With pretty happy with our numbers right now,” said coach Dave Partyka. “Only, we’re hoping we can get a few more girls to come out after school starts.”

Top returners for the boys include senior Cole Potvin, the Upper Peninsula Division 3 400-meter champ in track last spring, and third-year juniors Brett LaLonde and Colton Richard.

“Cole is coming off a great track season,” coach Dave Partyka said, noting Potvin is also a wide receiver in football at Manistique through a co-op venture. “Last year, Cole sprained his ankle pretty bad in football and was unable to do either sport until toward the end of the season. Brett and Colton also know what to expect. They can give some good advice to the younger runners.”

New to the squad is eighth-grader Lucas Sundling, who set Big Bay’s junior high records in the 1600 and 3200 last spring.

“He had a very successul season,” said Partyka. “I’m looking forward to coaching him and seeing what he can do in cross country.”

The girls are led by their lone returner, junior Patience Harris. Joining her are senior newcomers Cassie Cayemberg and Samantha Sundling.

“Patience and Samantha also play volleyball, which is one sport that goes pretty well with cross country,” said Partyka.