Thornapple Kellogg High School
Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 16, 2023
The morning started dark and early as our athletes arrived to board the buses for the Sparta Invitational around 5:40 a.m.. With a strange combination of grogginess and nervous anticipation we hit the road for another cross country adventure.
Upon arrival and in the predawn light, we set up our gear not knowing exactly where we were with regards to the layout of the venue. Not long after, we set out to tour the course. With daylight being low, we entered what seemed to be a haunted woods, complete with a spooky shed off to the right of the trail. Ultimately we got our bearings and the girls knew where the course would take them.
Racing began with the junior varsity (JV) in a unique format where the boys started first and the girls started only two minutes later. After the girls started there was a brief moment when the girls were around the bend and we couldn’t see them clearly, but when they made it into our sight, there were four girls leading the way and all of them were wearing the signature orange, black, and white, Thornapple Kellogg cross country jerseys!
After going through the “haunted woods” and heading down a small hill, Megan Schuurmans and Avery Hagemann were still in the lead, with Hailey Lee, a small handful of girls from other teams, and Raylee Preston, still all toward the front. At that point, they were closing in on some of the slower JV boys that had started before them.
On the second loop Hagemann and Schuurmans were still in the lead, but the girls from a very strong Spring Lake squad were beginning to close the gap. Not willing to relinquish their lead, the pair kept their proverbial foot on the gas and kept on hard charging.
In the end, it would be Hagemann crossing the line first in a personal record (PR) or 22:27, and then Schuurmans in a PR of 22:28. After a handful of other girls wearing various colors, TK’s Hailey Lee crossed the line in 24:29. After another set of Spring Lake girls and a representative from Sparta, TK’s Raylee Preston crossed the line in 26:03, which tied her PR. Because we only had four girls in the race, we didn’t have the minimum five to score as a team, but what a great showing by these girls today!
The varsity race followed with the same format as the jv race, and this time, although it was a more colorful lead group, TK’s colors, worn by Ava Crews led the way.
Spring Lake took everyone to task with their incredible team, placing four of their girls in the top ten. This is not to say that TK sat back and watched. Ava crossed the line first in a PR of 18:57, making it a one two punch for a JV and varsity overall individual winner. Forest Hills Eastern (FHE) was also knocking on the door, but TK held them off to earn second place in the team standings.
Meghan Skidmore battled through an ankle turn to finish second for the Trojans and ninth overall in a PR of 20:29, and after a smattering of teams such as FHE, Fruitport, and Spring lake, TK’s Peyton Hardy and Mady Kietzman crossed the line in 15th and 16th place, and in PRs of 20:54 and 20:56 respectively. Not far behind was Holly Velting in a season record of 21:15 in 19th place.
After working her way over the mildly rolling course, Carmen Reynolds finished sixth for TK and 25th overall, in a PR of 21:25. Reynolds was followed by a group of Fruitport girls, before a strong finish by TK’s Alaina McCrumb who scored a PR of 22:00, and rounded out TK’s top seven.
Also running in the varsity race was TK’s Kate Powers, who looked strong and finished in 23:07, and Laine Hinton who took on her own struggles to finish in a season record of 26:36.
The girls were supported by Ellie Harmon, Lucy Tuenessen, Devon Barnhill, and Mollie Moore who were sensibly allowing ailments to heal.