On paper, it looked really close. On the MIS course, it was closer than that.
The Pioneer girls’ cross country team arrived in Brooklyn on Saturday chasing a state title and came up only a few steps short of the ultimate finish line despite an incredible performance from a team balanced with a mix of youth, experience, determination and depth that came together at exactly the right time.
The Pioneers finished with 152 points, just 18 points behind champion Clarkston at the Division 1 girls’ cross country state finals at the Michigan International Speedway. And 18 points in a cross country meet is close – just a few places here and there could make that up in a hurry. Still, second place is a great feat turned in by the great feet of the purple and white.
Pinckney was third with 206 points followed by Traverse City Central (208), Bay City Western (234), Saline (239), Rockford (241), Northville (252), Fenton (269) and Salem (310). The SEC put on an impressive show with three teams crossing in the top six.
Zofia Dudek, in just her fourth meet coming off an injury, put on an impressive show at MIS. The junior placed second overall with a time of 17:59.8. Only Rockford senior Ericka VanderLende was faster – completing the course in an impressive time of 17:08.4.
Freshman Sarah Forsyth capped off her brilliant rookie season finishing 19th overall for the Pioneers finishing in 18:42.3. Junior Anna Vogel placed 27th with a time of 18:55.9 as the Pioneers crossed three runners among the top 30.
Freshman Charlotte Batra wrapped up her impressive first season by taking 39th with a time of 19:06.9. Forsyth and Batra were among the top six freshman to cross the finish line.
Senior Mallory Dawes concluded her outstanding career by taking 65th overall in 19:32.3.
Senior Emily Rennich was 125th (20:22.3) and senior Ella Ryan was 154th (20:54.4).
Skyline’s Laura O’Brien had a strong finish to her solid sophomore season by taking 62nd overall with a time of 19:13.7.
Huron senior Callie Hastie ran a time of 19:44.1 to take 109th place.