Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 12, 2022
It was 2019 the last time the Thornapple Kellogg Girls Cross Country team hoisted any kind of trophy at the Coach B Invitational held at Yankee Springs State Park, and it was a long time coming as far as Coach Sam Wilkinson was concerned..
“Granted, we did not host this meet in 2020, but I’ve been feeling anxious to have our team hold a trophy at this meet for some time now. It’s a special meet because we get a chance to honor Coach B (Tammy Benjamin, former Hall of Fame Coach of the TK Girls Cross Country team),” Coach Sam Wilkinson said, “and it makes it all the more special when we are at least in the top two and holding hardware in the photo op. with Coach B.”
In the process of earning runner-up, three runners for the TK Ladies earned season best times, while two of them nailed lifetime PRs (personal records).
“After the race I was reflecting on how everyone ran,” Wilkinson noted, “and I was like…huh…almost everyone who ran today had a good race. That’s fantastic!”
Sophomore Ava Crews, who is neither a senior, a junior, or a freshman, finished first for the Trojans, and third overall.
“Ava wasn’t feeling her best, but that did not stop her from giving her best effort on the day. She is certainly capable of being at the pointy-end with the quality of runners such as Natalia Quigley of Caledonia, and Olivia Barabas of Wayland who took first and second respectively. Ava has great perspective and knows that some days are diamonds and some days are stones, and today, although it wasn’t the diamond she would have liked, was still a strong performance and one she can feel good about,” Wilkinson said.
Junior Holly Velting finished ninth overall and second for the Trojans in another strong showing.
“Holly looked way better than she did in our last race. She was strong, she looked in control, and she was gettin’ after it,” Wilkinson claimed, “it was good to see Holly not only running well, but looking like herself again.”
Finishing third for the Trojans, and 15th overall was senior Lucy VanDemark.
“Lucy keeps bangin’ out solid performances and her confidence seems to be growing. I’m liking what I’m seeing and I think she is too.”
Only 21 seconds behind Lucy was steady performing senior Lindsey Velting finishing fourth for TK and 18th overall.
“Lindsey is a strong athlete and she also looked strong and confident today,” Wilkinson continued, “and she is a critical component to our success in the middle of our pack in bringing our middle group closer to the front.”
Freshman Mady Kietzman and senior Emma Thompson finished within two seconds of each other crossing the line in 21st and 22nd overall respectively, and earning the final two of six of the individual medals the Trojans snagged in the process.
“Emma keeps being the benchmark for where our middle pack needs to build from. Sometimes a couple of the girls will be ahead of her and a couple will be behind her, but she is like a quiet storm keeping the thunder and the lightning on the move,” Wilkinson said. “Meanwhile Mady is constantly growing and evolving in her racing and is yet to realize her potential. Having said that, I am thrilled with where she is so far. I thought maybe it would take much of the season to get her to where she is now, but now that she’s raised the bar for herself, I believe she will grow even more as she gains confidence.”
Completing the top seven for the Trojans today was junior Kate Powers, finishing 26th, which was just one place from medal contention and only by two seconds!
“I was giddy seeing Kate go to work today!” said Wilkinson. “I was a little concerned about her when her last race didn’t go as well as she would have liked. I wasn’t sure how she would respond, and she responded like a champ! She was all in from the jump and she never backed down or looked back! It was great to see.”
Following Powers was freshman Megan Schuurmans in 38th place, junior Laine Hinton in 40th place, Liz Gaunt in 61st place, and Lucy Teunessen in 64th place respectively.
“Megan had a rough go of things today. Her body was not responding the way she would have liked and it wasn’t her day. Having said that, I look for all of our girls to give maximum effort on the day with whatever they are able to do, and I believe she did just that,” Wilkinson said.
“Laine! …That girl was on fire! She has been showing signs that she would launch and today was the day! She lit it up and ran a significant season best time today. Very nice!” Wilkinson noted.
“Laine wasn’t the only one throwing down PRs. Liz earned one today with her strong effort. Then Lucy, put up another consistent effort running another sub-29.”
The Trojans were runner-up to a strong Caledonia squad and finished the day on a high note.
“I’m really proud of our girls. They gave what they had on the day and for most of them, it turned out to be a good day. Now it’s time to do a little more sharpening as our season continues to unfold,” concluded Wilkinson.