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Success of teams dependent upon knowing position

Megan Swanker, Sports Editor

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The hard work and determination that junior Nick Dennison uses in his cross country career has led him to be the top boys’ runner for the Shores’ varsity team.

“I love the competition in cross,” said Dennison, who will lead the Sailors at today’s City meet at University Park. “There is always someone better than you unless you finish first. The positives of participating are being surrounded by smart teammates who are really great people. I love the team because we all get along perfectly and push each other to our limits.”

Senior teammate Cade Poland said Dennison contributes to the team greatly.

“He always gets the job done,” Poland said. “He’s a humble and nice guy who is pleasant to be around.”

Head coach Bob Jazwinski said he admires how Dennison acts as a role model.

“Nick has been the No. 1 runner all year long,” Jazwinski said. “He has outstanding leadership and is a great role model. He is not a man of many words, so his actions speak much louder than his voice.”

Dennison and his team have accomplishments for this season that he is proud of.

“So far, I’m proud of getting a personal record and winning a couple races in order to put my team in a better position,” said Dennison, who has been Shores’ top runner at all 10 meets through Oct. 6, including an overall first-place finish in 16:47 at Mason County Central.

Dennison also has two third-place finishes at the Jenison Jamboree and the Big Red Invitational. He has placed in the top 20 overall for all meets except one.

Advice from both his head and assistant coaches has helped Dennison personally improve.

“The best advice that has been given to me is from (girls’ coach Katie) Jazwinski,” Dennison said. “She yells, ‘Quit feeling sorry for yourself’ because in running, the only thing that curbs you besides your physical limits are your mental limits, and you slow down if you only have pain on your mind.”

Dennison has set goals for himself and his team for the rest of the season.

“This year, I hope to run below 16:30, make it to states, and place high at states. As a team, I hope that we can take first or second in our conference,” Dennison said.

With all of his leadership qualities, these goals are very possible for Dennison to accomplish.

“Nick is one of the hardest workers we have ever had on any team, outstanding work ethic,” Jazwinski said. “He is one of the captains on the team this year. Nick is a top student, top musician, top runner, and I’m sure he is the top employee at his job with lawncare. He has a never-ending supply of energy. He has the GRIT that we look for in cross country.”

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