2017-11-09 / Sports

Grant, Lady Eagles crack top 10

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

ST. MARY senior Hanna Grant led all Leelanau County cross country runners at the Division 4 finals in Brooklyn on Saturday, finishing ninth individually as the Lady Eagles placed sixth among 27 programs. Grant is pictured Saturday with St. Mary coach Nick Papes, the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Division 4 Region 29 Girls Coach of the Year. ST. MARY senior Hanna Grant led all Leelanau County cross country runners at the Division 4 finals in Brooklyn on Saturday, finishing ninth individually as the Lady Eagles placed sixth among 27 programs. Grant is pictured Saturday with St. Mary coach Nick Papes, the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Division 4 Region 29 Girls Coach of the Year. Hanna Grant and her St. Mary teammates made coach Nick Papes proud on Saturday.

Grant placed ninth individually in a field of 242 runners, the Lady Eagles placed sixth in a field of 27 teams and St. Mary once again showed it can go toe-to-toe with much bigger programs on cross country’s biggest stage.

“This is a far cry from where we were five or six years ago,” Papes said. “We were slated in the top 10 all year. With the amount of emotion they were destined to run with, and with it being a swan song for the seniors, they acquitted themselves quite well.”

Grant (19:27) outpaced teammates Ciara Glynn (21:13), Lexi Schaub (21:32), Mary MacDonald (22:10), Grace McKillip (22:16), Nicole Wittman (22:57), and Breanna Weber (23:46). Those runners finished 63rd, 73rd, 117th, 123rd, 161st, and 191st, respectively. St. Mary was the lone Leelanau County representative in the girls race.

Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart, Ubly and Lansing Christian finished first, second and third, respectively.

“I did a little research into the schools that beat us, and Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart is the closest to us in size,” Papes said. “Everyone else is four or five times bigger than us.

“I can’t say enough about the body of work these girls put together.”

Four other county girls competed in the chilly fall classic.

Leland freshman Twyla Walters crossed 86th (21:45), outpacing freshman teammate and 111th-place finisher Emma Waskiewicz (22:06).

“Our first trip to state finals was something pretty special,” Leland coach Kat Murphy said. “The school gave us a great send-off with a pep rally, then lined Pearl Street all the way to the post office. The Leland Fire & Rescue gave us an escort to M-204. ... Despite the big race with the big crowd, Emma and Twyla were cool under pressure, and ran their races with confidence. Twyla pulled her hamstring earlier in the week in gym class, so she was hurting a little but worked through it. She is so much tougher than anyone would imagine. Emma ran hard and loved every minute of it; she is such a passionate runner.”

The goal next year, Murphy said, is to qualify as a team.

Glen Lake qualifiers Allie Bonzelet (23:06.0) and Karrigan LaCross (23:06.5) finished 168th and 169th, respectively.

“Very similar to the boys, these girls were prepared to do their best and race among the fastest in the state,” Glen Lake coach Ryan Schut said. “Allie and Karrigan’s race times ended up close to the same near season end. With the finals being packed full, it was comforting for them to race together and push each other.”

Return to top