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10th Annual Portage Invitational

Portage Central HS, Portage MI - Saturday, October 6, 2007

DyeStat onsite with SteveU and Pat Davey

Results - Boys ad Girls D3 and D4 - Boys and Girls D1 and D2 - More Results, including JV & Middle School - Winner's Table

Meet's Own Site

2006 Coverage

Girls Entries

Boys Entries


More Info

Surviving the Sauna

Highlights - SteveU Story

At left, Aprill, Lanciaux, and Bishop are together before Lanciaux made his move. At right, Banfich all alone at finish.
Photos by Davey, runmichigan.com

  • Mother Nature was the biggest winner as the meet was delayed twice because of ambulances taking runners off the course as they battled record 85-degree heat
  • James Lanciaux (15:24) and MW#7 Fremont MI top Bobby Aprill and MW#10 Dexter in D2 boys race, 61-105 (even though just 9 sec. diff. in top 5)
  • Two-time Foot Locker Finalist Alex Banfich comes in from Culver Academy IN and runs the best time of the day, winning girls D1 race in 17:59
  • MW#3 Pinckney defeats MW honorable menton Saline in D1 boys battle, 93-108. Justin Heck of Monroe wins individually in 15:42.
  • Team battles in D1 and D2 girls go to MW honorable mention Saline (110 to win tight 4-team battle) and Gaylord (which was led by D2 individual champ Sloan Secord 18:35
  • Other individual titles to Saranac's Melinda Pelinkas (D4, 18:37), Allendale's Devan John (D3, 19:15), Jackson Lumen Christi's Josh McAlary (D4, 15:43), and Saugatuck's Christian Birky (D3, 16:37)
  • Other team titles to North Pointe Christian (D4 girls, 79 pts.), Schoolcraft (D3 girls, 71 pts.), Hesperia (D3 boys, 67 points), and Grand Rapids West Catholic (D4 boys, 98 pts.).

Alex Banfich, James Lanciaux and Fremont
Biggest Winners on Bizarre in Michigan

Story by SteveU

There was a lot to be thrilled about at the 10th Annual Portage Invitational Saturday, such as the stunning win by James Lanciaux in the Boys D2 race, the victory by his Fremont team that threatens Dexter’s reign in what has been Michigan’s best division, and the queenly performance in D1 Girls by visiting Culver Academy IN star Alex Banfich – who showed why she will be favored to make her third Foot Locker Finals.

That was the some of the exciting action on the course; unfortunately, the runners shared the course with Kalamazoo County’s ambulance services, which was not something to be thrilled about. Despite forecasts for unusual heat all week long and the best efforts of runners and their coaches to be hydrated, more than 10 runners in the final three races required relatively extensive medical treatment. Four collapsed near the 2-mile mark during the girls D1 race (and more at the finish), which started at 1:30 p.m. and was the 11th of 17 scheduled races during the day. Officials and coaches then met to determine whether the meet would continue. It was decided that the D1 and D2 races would go off after a delay for the ambulances to clear the course, but the four remaining JV races were cancelled.

The top runners and teams, however, paced themselves well enough to survive and win with strong performances. In the boys D2 race, Dexter’s defending champ Bobby Aprill was the clear man to beat, but highly touted Fremont certainly was at least a co-favorite team-wise with the Dreadnaughts, with the latter’s depth not what it was in previous years. As it turned out, Fremont’s ace James Lanciaux made a move in the third mile to which Aprill could not respond, and went on to win in the fastest time of the day, 15:24. Fremont (their 5th) and Dexter (their 4th) both had men who didn’t finish, but Fremont’s depth overcame Dexter’s strong top three for a 61-105 victory.

While the heat-related carnage was stronger during the previous race, the girls D1 race, the winner of that affair didn’t seem to suffer much. Alex Banfich and the lead pack went out faster than the D2 girls race’s near-equally talented leader (Meggan Freeland), 5:42-5:56, but Banfich kept a steady pace at or near the front of the pack, and strung it out and pulled gradually away in the 3rd mile to win in 17:59.

There was another delay after the D2 boys race, as meet administrators waited for an ambulance to return, and the D1 race was (with one exception) less eventful, medically speaking. Monroe’s Justin Heck ran alone for the last 2 miles to a 15:42 win, and MW#3 Pinckney put in a solid run to hold off Saline, 93-108.

Wiped out: At left, Meggan Freeland of Parma Western from the D2 race just before temps hit their peak. At right, Alex Hess of Dexter got the full treatment for dehydration, but didn't have to make a hospital visit. Photos by Davey, runmichigan.com

(full story, more pix to come)

Winners Table

Individual Team
D4 Girls
Melinda Pelinkas, Saranac 18:37 North Pointe Christian, 79
D3 Girls
Devan John, Allendale 19:15 Schoolcraft, 71
D3 Boys
Christian Birky, Saugatuck 16:37
Hespiria, 67
D4 Boys
Josh McAlary,
Jackson Lumen Christi 15:43
Grand Rapids West Catholic, 98
D2 Girls
Sloan Secord, Gaylord 18:35
Gaylord, 108
D1 Girls
Alex Banfich, Culver Academy 17:59
Saline, 110
D2 Boys
James Lanciaux, Fremont 15:24
Fremont, 61
D1 Boys
Justin Heck, Monroe 15:42
Pinckney, 93

2007 Time Schedule


Open Run


Division 4


Division 3


Division 4


Division 3


Reserves D3/4


Reserves D3/4


Middle School


Middle School

6th Grade Race Boys and Girls

Division 2




Division 2


Division 1


Reserves D2


Reserves D1


Reserves D2


Reserves D1