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Leslie High School runner Haley Ellis won the Leslie Blackhawk Cross Country Invitational Wednesday at Leslie High School. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

Leslie High School senior Haley Ellis has some high expectations this season.

She also has some added inspiration.

Ellis showed that she is living up to some of those expectations. She won the Leslie Blackhawk Invitational at home on Wednesday with a time of 21 minutes, 24 seconds.

While the time isn’t earth shattering, she won by more than 30 seconds.

Winning the race helped Leslie win the team championship at the invitational. The Blackhawks won the girls’ event with 38 points, Manchester was second with 55, Lakewood scored 59, and Charlotte 69.

The results were nearly the same in the boys’ event. Leslie won the event with 34 points, Manchester placed second at 49 points, and Charlotte was third with 84.

Local teams East Jackson placed fifth (162), Jackson Prep and Early College was sixth (173), and Napoleon finished ninth (200).

Ellis finished 39th at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state finals at Michigan International Speedway last year. The top 30 earn all-state honors.

The road may be a little tougher for Ellis and her teammates as the Blackhawks were moved to the Jackson regional at Ella Sharp Park. They will face the likes of Lumen Christi, Hanover-Horton, and Grass Lake.

“I have heard that Sharp Park is a fast course,” Ellis said. “My goal is to run in the 18s this year.”

Ellis said she trained 40 to 50 miles per week this season. Despite not knowing the status of the cross country season, she kept running.

“It was pretty rough (not knowing whether or not the season would happen), but I kept training every day,” Ellis said.

Teammate Lily Robinson finished fifth for Leslie in 23:13.

Manchester was paced by Allie Koch in third place (22:58) and McKenna Marsh in fourth (23:09).

Madelyn Norman of Napoleon was eighth (23:24), Vianney Medina-Gonzalez of JPEC placed 33rd (28:53), and Isabel Worthing of East Jackson finished 38th (29:52).

In the boys’ event, Leslie took places 5-8 to earn the title. Cameron Pierce of Leslie was fifth (18:18), Tyler Hile was sixth (18:24), Gabe Weber finished seventh (18:38), and Ayden Rutan was eighth (18:47).

Manchester runner Bobby Romberger placed fourth in 18:13.

JPEC runner Daniel Casey finished 11th (19:06), Donovan Cook of East Jackson was 20th (20:02), and Adam Swartz of Napoleon placed 31st (20:48).

Nathan Alford of Lake Odessa Lakewood won the race in 17:24.

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