In what is best categorized as improbable, the women’s cross-country team of Rockford won the OK Red
conference championship race by defeating previously unbeaten Hudsonville and outdistancing second-place Grand Haven by 18 points. The Rams finished with 44 points to Grand Haven’s 62 and Hudsonville’s 72.
The Rams, who went into the championship race in third place due to defeats at the hands of both the Bucs and Eagles, finished in a three-way tie for the overall conference championship by defeating both in the championship race.
“We certainly were not the favorites to win today,” said the Rams’ Head Coach Ben Watson. “But that is why you run the race.”
Senior Taylor Manett claimed the individual conference crown by easily outpacing the second-place finisher by 43 seconds. Her winning time of 18:20 was the only finisher under 19:00.
Fellow senior Jane Hawks claimed fourth place overall with a time of 19:35.
Joining the two seniors in earning All Conference honors was sophomore Morgan Harney with a ninth-place finish with a time of 20:00.
Finishing the scoring for the Rams were freshman Kerianne Schoff and Natalie Napolillo in 13th and 17th place respectively in times of 20:11 and 20:31. Those places earned the freshman Honorable Mention All Conference honors.
“Our top five all had great races. This is our third time racing at Johnson Park, and each one of them ran their fastest on this course today. It is very rewarding to see the girls enjoy such a great team accomplishment after putting in so much hard work,” said Coach Watson.
Concluding the varsity race for the Lady Rams was Maegan Roach and Lauren Brasure in 27th and 35th with times of 21:06 and 21:36.
This victory for the Rams will put a target on their backs heading into next weekend’s regional championship, where Rockford will once again face Grand Haven and Hudsonville.
“We certainly surprised some teams today by racing so well, but that won’t be the case next time around. We will have to bring our best again in order to win the regional,” said Coach Watson.