Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The Croswell-Lexington girls cross country program has long been atop the region, finishing as runner-up five times in the last decade. But at Saturday’s Division 2, Region 17 championship, head coach Lisa Shaw and the Pioneers finally claimed their trophy.
“You’d hate for them not to get what they’ve earned and worked for. It’d be different if they messed around or did some things they shouldn’t, but they do everything they’re supposed to,” Shaw said. “At practice, they’re all coachable and they come every day. They care about it a lot.”
The Pioneers finished with 63 points, edging St. Clair which finished second with 71, and Warren Regina in third with 85. Cros-Lex sophomore Eva Thompson was the individual winner with a time of 19 minutes, 6.7 seconds, and her junior teammate Morgan Newton finished third in 19:33.2.
“They were all close. But having that 1-3 punch is hard [to beat],” Shaw said. “It’s nice because I knew we could do it and we’ve had such a good year.”
Separating the two Pioneers was Armada sophomore Brooklyn Khon who crossed the line in 19:30.5. Khon and Thompson had battled in the three BWAC Jamborees, Khon winning two of the three league titles, so on Saturday, Thompson said she wanted to control the race. She did just that, leading by a large margin the entire way.
“That was what I planned to do and it felt good. It’s definitely better when you’re running with somebody because you have that motivation to stay with them, but I just kept telling myself to keep pushing until the end,” Thompson said. “It’s really exciting. I didn’t really expect this at the beginning of the season, and it’s just going to be much better to be with the team at states.”
Helping Cros-Lex to the title was junior Abby Barkley, sophomore Brynn Hurley, senior Aubrey Connelly, junior Eliza Nelson, and senior Paris Parraghi.
As for the Saints, this year’s runner-up finish was a testament to the team’s growth over the last four years as none of their seniors had qualified for the State Finals as a team before. They were led by senior Ava Pergitone who finished fifth in 19:49.1. Sophomore Allie Komarowski and junior Lilyana Bratt each joined Pergitone in the top 15 overall.
“I desperately wanted the girls to make it. The seniors hadn’t made it as a team ever and I’ve become pretty close to a lot of them from being around them over the years,” St. Clair coach Tom Brenner said. “They’ve run more miles this summer and fall than they ever have. They've put a lot of work in.”
Freshman Aubrey Sargent, senior Katelyn Jaloksy, freshman Molly McNabb, and sophomore Clair Bacon will join the rest of the Saints at the State Finals.
Several other area runners punched their tickets to Michigan International Speedway next weekend as well: Richmond junior Brianna Albers, Marysville sophomore Lillian Rutallie, Marine City junior Casidhe Flesher, and North Branch senior Karlie Schlaud.
In the Divison 1, Region 9 girls race, Port Huron Northern Reese Georgia finished 17th overall in 19:49.8, running one of her best times to qualify for the State Finals for the first time in her career.
“It means so much to me. It just shows what the four years of hard training have come to,” Georgia said. “I’m also really happy because I wanted to show the freshmen on our team what this sport can do for you and what you can accomplish from hard training.
“I’ve grown so many great friendships and I’ve just loved being able to lead the team, especially this year with so many freshmen, just helping them to grow to love the sport and keep a positive attitude.”
Division 2 State Qualifiers:
1. Eva Thompson (Soph., CL) – 19:06.7
2. Brooklyn Khon (Soph., ARM) – 19:30.5
3. Morgan Newton (Jr., CL) – 19:33.2
4. Brianna Albers (Jr., RICH) – 19:42.7
5. Ava Pergitone (Sr., SC) – 19:49.1
6. Elizabeth Ambroggio (Soph., REG) – 19:53.1
7. Lillian Rutallie (Soph., MV) – 20:04.6
8. Kennedy Roskopp (Jr., REG) – 20:05.4
9. Anne May (Sr., MLN) – 20:12.1
10. Olivia Ebel (Sr., MNL) – 20:22.1
11. Allie Komarowski (Soph., SC) – 20:26.9*
12. Abagayle Barkley (Jr., CL) – 20:36.3*
13. Casidhe Flesher (Jr., MC) – 20:42.0
14. Lilyana Bratt (Jr., SC) – 20:43.1
15. Karlie Schlaud (Sr., NB) – 20:46.6
More photos to follow
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