Thornapple Kellogg High School
Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 26, 2023
After a tough week last week the girls really bounced back. In our second OK Gold Conference Jamboree they really showed up! Just before the mile two marker I saw a whole lot of “Sailor blue and white” running in packs of three and four in front of us, and frankly I thought they were going to figuratively punch us in the mouth on our own course. Later in the race there was a mix of blue and orange and the girls were really battling. Ultimately the girls did what they needed to do, they won the races they were in, and they came out on top in an OK Gold Jamboree for the first time!
Standing at the 500 meter mark I saw Ava (Crews) leading the race. At that moment I told her to be patient, but I doubt she heard me because she was in the zone. It was somewhat of an aggressive move, but I was good with it. I liked that she was challenging herself. When she came back through around roughly the 1500 meter mark she was in third, but still hanging tough in the front. I said, “Ok, let’s do this then. Keep it rollin’!” She probably didn’t hear me say that either, but that’s ok. When it was all said and done, Ava finished fifth with a strong effort in 19:29.
Let’s be clear though, it takes an entire team to win a race. Behind Ava was Meghan Skidmore who had a wreck in our previous Saturday's meet which damaged her ankle. With determination, guts, fortitude, and a wrapped ankle, she took on the day and did not back down. She battled not only the athletes on the course, but she also fought back the pain she was experiencing near her foot. She ultimately crossed the line in 8th, in 20:29, and second for the Trojans.
Next were a group of girls who made a significant difference as well. Mady Kietzman and Peyton Hardy (12th and 13th in 21:11 and 21: 12 respectively) did a fantastic job of working together the entire race! Avery Hagemann and Alaina McCrumb worked similarly in a different space in the race, crossing the line in 25th and 26th, and in 22:17 - a PR for Avery - and 22:22 respectively. Collectively, their impressive performances of these girls passing one person after another put us over the top. If they hadn’t done what they did, a different team would have sailed off with the victory tonight. It was a great showing of teamwork that I hope to see continue.
Rounding the top seven was Holly Velting who suffered an ankle turn on an already tender foot, but she hung tough and finished in 38th in 23:10.
Following Holly was Megan Schuurmans who ran well finishing in 44th in 23:33, Carmen Reynolds 48th in 23:38, Kate Powers 51st in 23:53, Hailey Lee 63rd in 24:39, and Raylee Preston, who really got after it, placed 68th, and earned a PR of 25:19! Finally, Laine Hinton, took on not only the competition and the course, but her sore knees. She still finished 86th in 27:53.
It was interesting going into this meet. We finished second in our first jamboree and of course Ottawa Hills was looking to defend their OK Gold Jamboree #1 win, and I knew South Christian would be gunning to climb the ladder, and I expected Forest Hills Eastern to be doing the same. I knew we were a bit banged up and tired, and although I always want the girls to do well, they didn’t need me to say too much. I basically told them what I typically tell them with regards to getting out strong and in a good position, and then to compete in the race they are in. I did add that Ottawa Hills would be looking to defend their place, and that South Christian and Forest Hills Eastern would be gunning for us, and that they would get “bonus points” for passing any of those teams. Not that there are any actual bonus points, but they knew what I meant.
The girls banged out a great win tonight and I am of course super proud of them. The goal now is to get everyone healthy and stronger. We can enjoy this win for the moment, but we will be challenged in our critical meets coming up so there is more work to be done. The good news is this group of girls is up for the challenge and they are going to work hard because that’s what they do. They are competitors and they compete. Congratulations ladies. You did very well.