GRAND LEDGE – Olivia Theis had her eyes on the big prize.
And the Lansing Catholic junior wasn’t going to be denied Saturday.
Theis added to her dominant season by finishing as the individual champion at the Greater Lansing Cross Country Championships at the Ledge Meadows Golf Course.
And her performance helped the Lansing Catholic girls capture the team title at the meet for the third time overall and second in three years.
“I really wanted to win it,” said Theis, who was the meet runner-up last fall. “Last year I was not close. I was up there. I lost it last year and I didn’t want to do the same thing again.”
Theis, who entered Saturday with the area’s fastest time and one of the best in the state, was the only runner to complete the course in under 18 minutes.
“It definitely felt good,” said Theis, who had a time of 17:35.8. “I was hoping to PR, but this is a tough course so I’m definitely happy with it.”
Lansing Catholic coach Tim Simpson said Theis exhibited what she has displayed in what’s been a record-setting fall while finishing the race with a course record time.
“I really liked that our front three stayed together for the first mile and then after that (Olivia) kind of just started putting on some pressure and getting rid of everybody,” Simpson said. “She just stayed strong the whole way in.
“I’m happy with (her setting the course record). On a muddy like that, for her to run faster than anybody has run out here is pretty impressive.”
Theis was one of three runners to finish in top five individually for Lansing Catholic, which had a score of 60 and finished 59 points ahead of runner-up St. Johns. Lauren Cleary was second overall and freshman Jaden Theis took fourth.
The Cougars had five runners in the top 32 overall with Grace Frost finishing 22nd and freshman Rachel Reid taking 31st.
“We ran the way we could run,” Lansing Catholic coach Tim Simpson said. “We know that we’re good enough to win this meet, but you’ve got to come out and do it. Everybody has got to go out and do their part and keep trying to improve. We did that. Our front girls like Jaden – she ran a really nice race for a freshman and hadn’t run here before.
“Everybody did what they are supposed to do.”
Joining the Lansing Catholic trio in Saturday’s top five individual finishers were Mason’s Cecilia Stalzer (third) and Grand Ledge’s Jenna Magness (fifth).
East Lansing, which was the Greater Lansing girls champion last year, finished third and was followed by DeWitt and Okemos.
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
GREATER LANSING CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic – 17:35.8
2. Lauren Cleary, Lansing Catholic – 18:11.9
3. Cecilia Stalzer, Mason – 18:14.9
4. Jaden Theis, Lansing Catholic – 18:33.2
5. Jenna Magness, Grand Ledge – 18:41.8
6. Claudia Baryo, Grand Ledge – 19:16.3
7. Aubrey George, Pewamo-Westphalia – 19:17.7
8. Lidia Clarizio, Haslett – 19:19.7
9. Katie Vitou, DeWitt – 19:21.6
10. Hannah Adler, DeWitt – 19:21.7
1. Lansing Catholic – 60
2. St. Johns – 109
3. East Lansing – 136
4. DeWitt – 138
5. Okemos – 156
6. Grand Ledge – 176
7. Pewamo-Westphalia – 210
8. Haslett – 239
9. Alma – 243
10. Williamston – 250