Recalling Albion’s N-O cross-country championship three-peat

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 6 December 2020 at 10:59 am

Contributed Photo – Albion began its three year Niagara-Orleans League cross-country championship run with a victory by this 1993 squad. In front are Mike VanDussen, Paul Nichols, Darryll Beach, Joel Nowatchik, Mark Hooper and Chris Miller. In back are Coach Robert Ord, Kyle Groth, Andy West, Mike Grager, Jose Pas-Rojas, Chris West, Mark Nichols and Rob Snyder.

Over the years Albion has captured the Niagara-Orleans League boys cross-country championship half a dozen times with three of them coming during one very successful three year run from 1993-95.

Coach Robert Ord’s Purple Eagles ended an 11 year title drought by capturing the N-O crown in 1993 going 14-0.

Albion won the All-League meet by 27 points over runner-up Starpoint (34-61) to lock up the title.

Leading the way for Albion at the All-League meet were Kyle Groth who finished third, Mike VanDussen fourth and Jose Pas-Rojas sixth to earn first team All-League honors. The Purple Eagles also had a trio of second team honorees as Mike Grager placed 9th, Mark Nichols 12th and Darryll Beach 16th.

Keeping the momentum, Coach Ord’s Albion squad scored a successful title defense in 1994 again going 14-0.

The Purple Eagles won the All-League meet by 16 points over runner-up Barker (59-75) as Jon Huyck finished third, Mark Nichols 6th, Mike VanDussen 7th and Chris Miller 17th to lead the way for the Purple Eagles

Albion completed the three-peat by claiming the N-O crown in 1995 again going 14-0 with Roger Klatt at the coaching helm.

The Purple Eagles capped off the league title campaign with a 27 point victory at the All-League meet over runner-up Starpoint (38-65).

Albion had five runners in the top 10 at the meet as Joel Nowatchik was 5th, Mike VanDussen 6th, Mark Nichols 8th, Mike West 9th and Joe Gardner 10th.

The Purple Eagles kept rolling that fall by capturing the Section VI Class B championship again besting runner-up Starpoint for the title by a margin of 58 points to 77.  Albion had five runners finish in the top 20 as Nichols placed 7th, VanDussen 11th, Nowatchik 12th, Gardner 14th and Mike West 16th.

That win advanced Albion to the state meet where the Purple Eagles finished ninth.

Albion’s other three N-O title seasons have been in 1978, 1982 (a co-championship with Barker) and in 2012.