Renae Kutcha of Lumen Christi Catholic High School earned all-state honors for the third time by finishing 29th at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 cross country finals at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Season or no season.
On-line classes or in-person.
Masks or no masks.
State finals or no state finals.
All of these things weighed on the mind of Lumen Christi Catholic High School cross country runner Renae Kutcha at some point this summer and fall.
But she didn’t let it affect her.
The senior became all-state in cross country for the third time in four seasons. She becomes only the fourth runner in LCCHS history to obtain that.
Kutcha was one of three Lumen runners who earned all-state honors. Junior Faith Smith of LCCHS finished seventh overall in the Michigan High School Athletic Association D-3 finals with a time of 18:46. Freshman Madison Osterberg placed 16th in 19:34 and Kutcha finished 29th in 20:10.
The three helped the Titans earned 10th place as a team at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
Kutcha said all of the glory – winning races and earning state medals – was nice, but having a team to back her was important.
“The most important part (of the 2020 season) was having a team to go to each day after school,” Kutcha said. With all of the things going on, we had that.”
Kutcha said she was grateful the Titans had a chance to run at all this fall. She was a bit surprised by temperatures in the low 70s on Saturday at MIS.
“It was really hot out, especially in the last mile,” Kutcha said. “It was mentally tough to get through the heat in the last mile.”
The warmer temperatures – and lack of rain – created a different course, according to Smith. She earned all-state for a second consecutive year at MIS.
“The course was better than the last two years,” Smith said. “It was a lot firmer.”
Freshman Madison Osterberg finished 16th overall to earn all-state honors. She loved the course during pre-race, but felt the burn once the race started.
“The course is somewhat deceiving … I loved it in warmups,” Osterberg said. “It is very deceiving … very difficult.”
Coach Mike Woolsey said he expected to finish higher, but the Titans’ have not seen some of the top schools in Division 3 this season due to COVID-19 restrictions on the number of teams competing at invitationals.
“You go through the season and don’t see some of these teams,” Woolsey said. “We ran against the same teams over and over again.
“It was a new experience for us.”
Other runners for the Titans were Sarah Anastasiadis who finished 181st in 22:51; Jessica Furman was 217th at 24:22; Allison O’Dowd placed 225th in 24:43; and Lilly Beebe was 241st at 26:57.
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