Thornapple Kellogg High School
Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Oct 28, 2023
The ultimate goal in today’s race was to get the entire team to the State Finals at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The potential was there but after the mud settled only one Trojan punched her ticket to the big dance while the team placed 5th overall, just outside the advancing three teams.
We knew going in that there was a really strong possibility that we would qualify for the finals, but we also knew there were likely only two spots available for at least three other teams seeking them. It was nearly a given that East Grand Rapids (EGR) would win the regional, which they did in impressive fashion. After that, it came down to who was healthy, who ran the smartest race, and who had it in them to dig the deepest to go get it.
As it turned out, South Christian ran really well, as did GR West Michigan Aviation, and they claimed the last two spots gaining entry into MIS.
The teams on our radar showed up today, but not necessarily in the order we thought they might. South generally does really well in the regional meet regardless of how they performed during the season and we knew they would show up ready to go. Their depth, preparedness, and determination seems to shine brightly on the days it matters most. Although we beat them in our conference championship meet, I knew they would show up hungry and would be the team we had to beat; EGR notwithstanding. I also knew that Forest Hills Eastern (FHE) would be showing up with their “A-game” looking to regain some of their previous dominance. I didn’t overlook Aviation, and I knew we would have to pay attention to them, and I did consider them a dark horse. As it turned out, the dark horse rode its way up to nab the prize, beating out both FHE and us.
The course was muddy and a bit slick and our girls were working hard, but things just didn’t come together the way we had hoped. I’m not entirely sure what to attribute this to. After what I saw them do in the Conference Championship, and saw how well they handled that big meet situation, I thought they were pretty dialed in. I think one contributing factor may have been having the Barry County meet on the week leading into this race and me asking them to hold back. This may have taken away from their racing mentality a bit. It’s possible that I did not prescribe quite the right workouts, or that when I was preparing them for the meet I didn’t say the right things, but I’m not sure. I will be doing some self-reflection to hopefully do the right things next year.
Regardless of the team results, junior Ava Crews still qualified for the State Finals finishing 8th overall in 19:38, and first for the Trojans.
Additional finishers in TK’s top seven were as follows- Ellie Harmon (21:19) in 25th place, Mady Kietzman (21:22) in 28th place, Peyton Hardy (21:28) in 29th place, Alaina McCrumb (21:51) in 38th place, Avery Hagemann (21:56) in 40th place, and Meghan Skidmore (22:10) in 46th place.
Following the main event, Raylee Preston took to the Post Regional Open Meet, ran strong, and placed 18th of 38, in 24:56, achieving her goal of running sub-25 for the second time this season.
Although we did not make the top three, we did place in the top five of 14 teams in our region, and we can feel good about that. Our girls have learned and evolved a lot over the season, and there is still more growth to be had for this talented group. Five of our top seven had never run in a pressure cooker regional before and it was a good experience for them that hopefully we can build upon.
Meanwhile, Ava will train throughout the week before heading to MIS on Saturday, November 4th where she will take on the best and brightest of the Division 2 schools in the state and I am confident she will do well once again this year.