GRAND LEDGE — Stephanie Vanis had a rocky road a year ago as she dealt with iron problems.
The senior is feeling better this season and consistently getting stronger. And that’s been a big plus for the East Lansing girls cross country team.
Vanis pulled away for the individual title at the Greater Lansing Cross Country Championships on Saturday morning at Ledge Meadows Golf Course. Her efforts helped the East Lansing girls finish a point ahead of DeWitt for the team title.
“We had a big motivation to get first today so we definitely accomplished what we wanted to,” said Vanis, who had a time of 18:26.
Corunna won the boys portion of the event with a score of 82, which was nine points better than runner-up Okemos. The Cavaliers were led by junior Noah Jacobs, who was the individual boys winner with a time of 15:09.
“We wanted to win as a team,” Jacobs said. “We wanted to have a good day and win a race that we haven’t won in the past couple years. Winning as a team is a whole lot more special than winning as an individual. It’s a lot more fun to do it with a whole group of guys and celebrate with all the guys and just have a lot of fun that way.”
Vanis and Jacobs each crossed the finish line more than 15 seconds ahead of the next fastest runner while helping their teams capture titles. They also had help behind them.
East Lansing’s depth was vital in helping it edge DeWitt. The Trojans’ top five runners – Vanis, Anya Brett, Mary Stout, Madison Green and Jivana Esposito – were among the top 41 finishers.
“We are pretty deep and they run together as a group and did what it took to pull out the victory,” East Lansing coach Bob Brown said.
Behind East Lansing (132) and DeWitt (133), Grand Ledge (157), Leslie (220), St. Johns (228) and Lansing Catholic (228) rounded out the top placing girls teams. Lansing Catholic’s Olivia Theis (18:42) and Lauren Cleary (18:44), Mason’s Cecelia Stalzer (18:55) and Fowlerville’s Ollie Updike (19:05) were the top finishers behind Vanis.
The Corunna boys team had its top five runners — Jacobs, Blake Watson, Jacob Trowbridge, Dakota Hundley and Miles Petersen — place in the top 33.
“When one guy is a little bit off the next guy steps up and that’s what happened today,” Corunna coach Bryan Heid said. “We had two of our top seven unable to run and the next guy stepped up and did their job. It’s nice when our team is starting to jell and work off each other and it’s paying off. We’re picking up some steam and running well.”
Lansing Catholic (127), East Lansing (158) and Howell (160) rounded out the top five boys teams Saturday. Grand Ledge’s Christian Hubaker was the individual runner-up with a time of 15:35, while St. Louis’ Evan Goodell (15:38) and East Lansing’s Jacob Stanton (15:39) and Evan Meyer (15:44) were among the top five finishers
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.