Thornapple Kellogg High School
Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Oct 24, 2023
The timing of this race created a conundrum for us because we always want to win this race, but with it being only four days before the regional meet where the stakes are higher and our hopes being in that space, we had to be relatively conservative. The good thing is that we have a solid team and enough depth to take pressure off the girls who will be running in the regional race and still have the ability to hoist the trophy at the end of the day.
I really respect the teams we run against in the Barry County meet and I actually feel somewhat more of a kindred spirit with this group of teams than I do with several of the teams in our conference. Anytime we are racing and they are at the same meets, I’m cheering for them too because I want to see them do well in their own right. We are the schools on the outskirts of town doing the best we can against the big dogs of our area and we celebrate each other's accomplishments.
Going in, Ava Crews had won this championship twice already and she wanted to win again, and I believe she could have if she had gone all in. We agreed that she would work hard, but if she had to really dig deep, she would back off. We also agreed to her not going faster than around 20-21 minutes, which she is very capable of doing. I told her not to take the lead early and to let the talented freshman from Hastings, Caroline Randall, dictate the pace. Although Delton’s top runner, Summer Ritchie, took it out right away, both Crews and Randall sat back patiently. Ultimately, Crews and Randall traded the lead a few times before Randall committed to winning the race and Ava stuck to her plan and didn’t burn a bunch of matches trying to outdo her. Randall crossed the line first in 20:29, while Ava crossed not long after in 20:46. If Ava would have gone after it they both would have dug deeper than they should have with the regional meet coming up. I believe Ava made the wise veteran move which ultimately saved them both for Saturday.
The race was expected to be in the hands of most of the OK Gold Conference Champion JV girls, but they also wanted an insurance policy. We knew Delton was our biggest threat, so we paid particular attention to them.
Senior Holly Velting did exactly what she was supposed to do. She ran strong and finished in front of Delton’s front runner, crossing the line in 23:11 with a solid cushion to spare.
Next for the Trojans was Megan Schuurmans and Carmen Reynolds who also held up their part of the bargain, putting us in good position to win. Schuurmans crossed the line in 5th in 23:32, while Reynolds crossed in 6th in 23:40, and 3rd and 4th for the Trojans respectively.
The “insurance policy” started crossing the line shortly after. I told these girls they could not run faster than 23-minutes to conserve for Saturday. So across the line they came, Peyton Hardy (23:41), Meghan Skidmore (23:48), Ellie Harmon (23:48), Mady Kietzman (23:49), Alaina McCrumb (23:49), Avery Hagemann (23:49), all before the next opposing team, and in this case it was Delton’s number two girl, Kylie Main.
Not long after was TK’s Hailey Lee (25:11) who started further back in the field than I expected, but she worked her way up. Next, senior Kate Powers (25:41) who didn’t have the kind of day she wanted, held in tough and held it together nevertheless.
Next for TK was Raylee Preston (27:39) who didn’t have her fastest race, but did what she could do on the day. She was followed by senior Laine Hinton (30:16), and Lucy Teunnesen (30:47). They both ran really well considering they haven’t been able to run much of the last few weeks.
All the girls did what they needed to do on the day, they wanted to win, they got it done, and I’m proud of them not only for winning, but for showing self-control when needed.
Our biggest challenge is on the horizon in the form of the regional meet this Saturday, but I believe these girls are up for the fight. They are all strong, tough, competitive, and they have an important intangible, and that is love for each other and I’m glad I can be here to see them go to work.
Finishing All-County: Ava Crews, Holly Velting, Megan Schuurmans, Carmen Reynolds, and Peyton Hardy. Finishing as All-County Honorable Mention: Meghan Skidmore, Ellie Harmon, Mady Kietzman, Alaina McCrumb, and Avery Hagemann.