The area’s best cross country runners showed Saturday they just may be the state’s best cross country runners.
Port Huron’s Rachel Bonner and Algonac’s Morgan Beadlescomb won their respective races at the Portage Invitational, and did so with stunningly fast, personal-best times.
Bonner won the Division 1 girls race in a course-record time of 17 minutes, 15.9 seconds. Beadlescomb won the Division 2 boys race with a time of 14:58.
“It’s a great day out here,” Bonner said. “I was very blessed to have a great day with great competition.”
Bonner finished about 4 seconds ahead of Madison Troy of Grandville while chopping nearly 30 seconds off her previous personal best. She broke the previous course record – set by Julia Bos of Grand Rapids Christian in 2012 – by 3.2 seconds.
Beadlescomb’s race was even closer, as he edged Corunna’s Noah Jacobs by 1 second. Beadlescomb and Jacobs split the 1,600 and 3,200 track titles a year ago, and now both are among the top 10 runners in the country.
“(The state meet) is going to be close,” Beadlescomb said. “I honestly do (enjoy that). We had a pretty big pack up until about the 2-mile mark, and that was fun. Division 2 is going to be the division to watch this year.”
St. Clair finished sixth as a team in Division 2, led by a personal best from Jack Keais, who finished 12th at 16:03, putting himself onto the school’s top 10 board. Brendan Parr (39th, 16:39) and Derek LaDuke (49th, 16:48) also medaled for the Saints, who had their top five runners under 17. Walker Child ran 16:56 and Josh Williams ran 16:59.
“Some days you get a fast course with that type of competition, and the weather was absolutely perfect,” St. Clair coach Jon Davidson said. “We’re pretty happy with being top 10. Fremont is going to be untouchable. Their fifth man ran 16:19.
Marlette’s Eric Poth placed 16th in the Division 3 boys race with a time of 16:16, a personal best.
Port Huron Northern’s Jack Gillespie ran 16:52 in the Division 1 race, while teammate Tyler Champenoy ran 17:06. Ashley Defrain ran 19:52 for the Northern girls.