With a strong performance from his top seven runners at the end of the season, head coach Fred Hutchinson’s 2012 girls cross country team finished eighteenth at the MHSAA Class A state finals held at Michigan International Speedway on Nov. 3.
“This was one of the most competitive fields in recent memory and we held our own against a lot of good teams and a lot of very good individuals,” Hutch said.
As a team the Comets scored 426 points, well behind state champion Birmingham Seaholm that finished with a score of 69. Grosse Pointe South was runner-up with 88 points and Saline rounded out the top three with 101 points. Traverse City Centreal closed in fourth place with 244 points and Northville completed the top five teams with 265 points.
For Grand Ledge the season was plagued by nagging injuries with several of Hutch’s runners, with constant meet changes with his top seven runners. Still, the girls held together and finished ahead of 22nd place East Lansing who had defeated Grand Ledge in both the dual and conference meets, which speaks highly of the girls competitive spirit all the way to the end.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we made it back this year,” Hutch said. “The girls deserve a ton of credit. Our girls really held their own and should be proud of their efforts.”
Junior Krista Magness finished first for the Comets and 59th overall with a time of 18:57, her best time ever.
“Krista really ran a good race,” Hutch praised. “For her to break 19 minutes for a high school girls is quite an accomplishment. She is definitely an elite runner in the area and can become an elite runner in Michigan next year.”
Sophomore Taryn Hubaker also had as great day. Hubaker came in second and in the process of her 19:09 time, ran her seasonal best time.
“Taryn ran her season best time and missed her personal best time by only five seconds,” Hutch praised. “Taryn was a very consistent runner this year. If she works hard in the off season she’ll be a monster next year.”
Coming in third for Grand Ledge was senior co-captain Allison Dible with a time of 19:23. She was 106th overall.
“Allison ran very well. I’ve really appreciated Allison’s leadership for our team over the past four years. She has been the hardest working, most coachable runner that I’ve had and she is a great example to her teammates in every way. She will really be missed next year,” Hutch praised.
Senior co-captain Christy Snelgrove came in fourth for the Comets and 127th overall with a time of 19:38.
“Christy also ran a very good race,” Hutch said. “She has really had a tough time with an injury since last spring. I’m just really proud of how she never ever gave up trying and never quit. We will also miss her next year.”
Another runner of the youth movement was sophomore Olivia Conway who came in fifth and 159th respectively with a time of 19:57.
“I was really happy for Olivia. She broke the 20 minute mark and set a new lifetime record for herself. She works so hard and is also very coachable. She is a student of the sport and is always examining her races. When she examines the state meet race she should be very happy with her efforts,” Hutch said.
Freshman Annmarie Maher finished in 205th place with a time of 20:56 and freshman Becky Golisch came in 216th at 21:28.
“Annmarie did very well in her first state meet. She has a really bright future and I’m looking forward to big things from her next year. The same is true of Becky. She didn’t feel well at all yet she was able to turn in a really good performance. She also has as ton of talent and her future is bright as well,” Hutch concluded.
A total of 27 teams participated with 228 runners competing including those who qualified individually.