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Unexpected State Qualifiers are No. 10 Sports Story of 2015-16

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For the next 10 days, Olivetathletics.com will count down the Top 10 Olivet High School sports stories for 2015-16. So, without further ado, here is No. 10…

When the current school year started last September, the idea of freshman Isaac Waffle qualifying for the state cross country meet and sophomore Parker Smith accomplishing the same feat in wrestling was a little far-fetched.

Nine months later, however, those two Olivet High School students not only competed at the state’s highest level, they also are looking at promising futures with multiple years remaining in their prep careers.

Waffle earned a berth into the state cross country meet last fall after placing 14th in the regional competition at Sharp Park in Jackson. Needing a top-15 finish, Waffle toured the 5,000-meter course in 17:51 and continued to establish himself as one of the best young runners in the area. He was the only freshman state-qualifier at the Jackson regional.

At the state meet, which included 248 participants, Waffle finished 134th and stopped the clock in 17:48. He also placed 11th among freshmen in the race, which was held at Michigan International Speedway.

Smith, known more for his football and baseball prowess prior to this year, qualified for the state wrestling meet last winter after placing fourth in the 160-pound division at the Williamston regional. Smith lost his first match to Corunna’s Jerry Yellinek, 11-2, before rallying for victories over Chesaning’s Trevor Patterson (injury default) and Ithaca’s James O’Boyle via pin in 5:58. In the consolation final, he lost to Dundee’s Kyle Reinhard, 2-0.

Smith reached the regional meet after a first-place finish in the district tournament at Michigan Center High School. He also grabbed the top spot at the Greater Lansing Activities Conference Championships.

At the state meet, which was held at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Smith lost to Birch Run’s Tyler Childs, 17-6, and Gladstone’s Austin Demeuse, 12-10, in overtime. Smith finished the season with a 33-10 record.

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