Lady Rams cross-country team claims fifth place at state championship

Rockford’s Lady Rams harriers (front row, l–r) Morgan Harney, Kerianne Schoff, Maegan Roach; (back row) Coach Ben Watson, Taylor Manett, Jane Hawks, Natalie Napolillo, Lauren Brasure and Coach Lisa Miller celebrate their fifth-place finish in the state finals.

The girls of the Rockford cross-country program continued a long string of top 10 finishes this past Saturday, Nov. 5, when they claimed fifth place in the Division I MHSAA state championships.

“Rockford has a long history of excellent finishes at the state finals, and this adds one more year onto that long string,” said Coach Ben Watson.

The Rams have finished no worse than sixth place at the state finals since 1998, a string of 14 years.

Leading the Rams was once again the senior duo of Taylor Manett and Jane Hawks. Manett claimed the individual runner-up finish with a time of 17:24.0, narrowly missing winning the whole race by 1.4 seconds.

“Taylor had an incredible race to cap off a stellar season. She has progressed from a state finals alternate her freshman year, to making our state team her sophomore year, being All State her junior year and now state runner-up and school record holder this year—really a great career,” said Watson.

Hawks claimed All State honors as well for the second time in her career by placing 22nd with a season best time of 18:42.

“Jane has been a member of our state championship team every year of high school, and to go out with another All State performance is a tribute to her consistency and commitment,” said Watson. “Both of these seniors will be missed in the future.”

Rockford seniors Jane Hawks (left) and Taylor Manett (right) celebrate the end to a great season of cross-country for the Lady Rams.

Finishing in the third and fourth spots for the Lady Rams were sophomores Morgan Harney and Lauren Brasure, each of whom ran lifetime personal records. Harney finished in 61st with Brasure close behind in 70th in times of 19:29 and 19:39 respectively.

Three freshmen completed the team effort with Kerianne Schoff in 84th, Natalie Napolillo in 113th, and Maegan Roach in 124th. Their times were 19:47, 20:09 and 20:17 respectively.

“This was the first state finals for each one of these five girls and I am extremely happy with their performances. We finished three spots higher than we were ranked and beat two teams we hadn’t beaten all year due to each girl’s performance,” said Watson.

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