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Four Earn All-State Cross Country Honors

Lumen Christi Catholic School runners Renae Kutcha (1606) and Faith Smith earned all-state honors in Division 3 at the Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.  Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

Four local cross country runners earned all-state honors at the Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals held Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

A muddy course led to higher than normal times at the 5,000-meter course. Runners competed in the annual state finals in 40-degree weather and occasional rain.

In Division 4, Concord High School runner Skylar Thompson earned all-state honors for a third consecutive year. She finished 14th individually as a freshman and sophomore.

Saturday, she finished in 19 minutes, 38 seconds finishing fifth overall.

“My goal was to finish in the top seven,” Thompson said. “It was pretty muddy, but not as bad as I though.

“During warmup we talked about which side of the course to run on.”

In Division 3, three local runners earned all-state honors by finishing in the top 30.

Lumen Christi Catholic High School runners Renae Kutcha finished 20th and Faith Smith was 22nd in 19:34 and 19:35 respectively.

“I went out fast in the first two miles and fought off a girl in the third mile,” Kutcha said. “Faith found me in the third mile.”

Kutcha said she walked the course on Friday and with the help of Coach Mike Woolsey, the Titans created strategy for the course.

Kutcha, a junior, earned all-state honors for a second time in her running career. She was in the top-30 as a freshman.

Smith took a different approach, taking “it easy” the first mile and then speeding up.

“I didn’t think I would finish in the top 30 this year,” Smith said. “I finished 121st last year because of an injury.”

The Titans finished 19th overall as a team.

“We can grow as a team as we only have one senior on the team this year,” Smith said. “I would like to get more runners out.”

Alexandra Soltis ran 22:59 for the Titans; Jessica Furman ran the course in 23:07; and Lily Beebe ran 23:13.

Grass Lake runner Kailee Sandoval finished 26th overall to earn all-state honors. She ran the course in 19:46.

“I was ranked 29th so I knew I had a good chance to finish in the top 30,” Sandoval said. “Running at the state meet is all mental.”

The junior said she ran the course early on Friday to look at the best lines to run the course.

Hanover-Horton finished 23rd overall as a team in Division 3. Reagan Fazekas ran 21:22; Clara Rector ran the course in 22:24; Kathryn Childs finished in 22:30; Kelly Fielder finished in 22:32; and Krissy Johnson was timed in 23:55 for the Comets.

There were also a number of individual finishers in Division 3. Hope Wilkes of Columbia Central finished 79th in 20:46; teammate Hannah Hinkle placed 143rd in 21:40; and Brooklyn Slate of East Jackson was 189th at 22:51. 

Concord High School runner Skylar Thompson earned all-state honors in cross country for a third consecutive season. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

In Division 2, Western High School runners Lillian Heydenburg was 80th and Alyna Lewis placed 101st. Heydenburg finished in 20:12 and Nelson ran the course in 20:21. 

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