Women harriers claim runner-up at regional championship

Claiming second place in regional racing is the Rams girls cross-country team of (front row, l–r) Maegan Roach, Morgan Harney, Taylor Manett, Natalie Napolillo; (back row) Coach Lisa Miller, Lauren Brasure, Kerianne Schoff, Jane Hawks and Coach Ben Watson.

In a regional championship that featured three ranked teams in the state in addition to an honorable mention team, a close competition was brewing this close to Halloween, especially with state final qualification implications on the line. With the sixth-ranked Grand Haven Bucs, seventh-ranked Rockford Rams, eighth-ranked Hudsonville Eagles and Honorable Mention Grandville Bulldogs pushing it to the limits over the Allendale 3.1-mile course, when the dust settled a mere three-point gap remained between the top three, each of which qualified for the state championships. Hudsonville edged out a victory with 57 points to Rockford’s 59 and Grand Haven’s 60. Grandville closed in a distant fourth with 105.

“This race was a lot of fun to be a part of. It was super competitive and close and our girls ran great. You never enjoy losing, but being a part of it was unforgettable,” stated Rockford Coach Ben Watson.

Leading the Rams out front was senior Taylor Manett, who claimed the individual regional championship in posting a course record time of 17:29.7, the second best time of her life and season. Finishing second for the Lady Rams in seventh place and racing a season best time of nearly 30 seconds in 18:48 was senior Jane Hawks.

The next three Lady Rams, each of whom is an underclassman, had phenomenal days in running lifetime bests. Sophomore Morgan Harney claimed 16th with freshmen Kerianne Schoff and Natalie Napolillo in 17th and 18th, in times of 19:34, 19:37 and 19:39 respectively.

“These five girls really got the job done for us today. In recent weeks Hawks, Harney, Schoff and Napolillo have come on like gangbusters and each have watched their best times drop substantially. Where we had been losing badly to these other teams, because of these girls’ hard work and therefore improvement, now we know we can race right with them and even beat them,” said Coach Watson.

Finishing up the team performance for the Lady Rams was sophomore Lauren Brasure with a time of 20:17 and Maegan Roach in a time of 20:36.

The Lady Rams will compete this coming Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Division I racing is in the afternoon with the Lady Rams racing at 2:00 p.m.

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