Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Oct 8, 2022
Cross country racing is about people. Yes, time is a fun measure of progression of speed, but with variations in courses and course conditions, etc, the winner is determined by who crosses the finish line first, not who has the best personal record of the season. However, today was a race against time for us.
Thornapple Kellogg’s homecoming happened to fall on the same date at the Portage Invitational, so the race was on to see if our athletes could get done with the race, get in their cars, get back to their homes, prepare for the dance and all it involves, and all in a timely manner. In this regard, we won the race because everyone got back in time to get ready for the night's festivities.
The pandemonium that is the Portage Invitational, and the largest cross country meet in the state, featured numerous outstanding teams with incredible athletes. Once the Division 2 Girls race was under way, the subtle bounce of the ground could be felt as the hundreds of runners thundered down the straightaway that would take them around the first turn to take on the largest hill of the day. A hill, mind you, that they would take on twice on the two-looped course.
In a field of nearly 300 runners (42 teams and 4 individuals from a partial team), Thornapple Kellogg placed 23 as a team, which is a respectable finish in this high octane event.
The sea of swift moving humanity swept through the course with Ava Crews leading the way for the Trojans, who ultimately finished in medal contention, placing 28th, with 50 medals on the line. Her time was 19:38. Following her, for the Trojans, was Holly Velting who had a really solid race and posted her second fastest time on what so far has been our most challenging course. Holly was about 31 seconds ahead of the next Trojan finisher, Lindsey Velting, who also had a strong showing on this course in a time of 22:11, and only eight seconds behind Lindsey was Lucy VanDemark, with a 22:19, not far off her season’s best!
Meanwhile, Emma Thompson threw down an impressive effort and landed herself a season record time of 22:53! Only two seconds behind her for the Trojans was hard-charging Madison Kietzman in 22:55. Rounding out the top seven was Katherine Powers who pushed through to earn one of her fastest times of the season, nearly going sub-24, but hitting 24:01.
First and foremost, on a day that demands a lot of their time, I am very grateful for the girls racing today. I realize having a race on homecoming day adds an additional nuance that may not be particularly welcoming. However, when it came time to race, they were in it and gave it their all.
This was a good experience for the girls to race in such a large field to get the sense for what big races feel like, so when they are in a regional or state meet it does not feel completely foreign to have to fight for the space that your feet need to land on. Mady was the only one who had not raced in the craziness of Portage, but she handled it well. I don’t think she quite had the race she wanted, but she was still right in the mix.
I appreciate the effort the girls gave today. They worked hard. I hope they also had fun at the dance.