Clarkston claims fourth Division 1 girls cross country title

By Eric Coughlin
Special to The Detroit News

Clarkston's girls cross country team captured its fourth Division 1 state title Saturday with an 18-point victory over runner-up Ann Arbor Pioneer at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Two Clarkston runners finished in the top 16 of the 3.1-mile race. Mia Patria (18:13) came in 15th and senior Grace Nolan (18:15) came in 16th.

The title is Clarkston's first since 2005, when it won its third-straight.

"The whole team ran well," Clarkston coach Kevin Breen said. "Right from the start they were clicking on all cylinders, and that's a challenge getting your team to all run well on the same day. Mia and Grace's performances up front, that's what we needed."

Senior Elizabeth Dalrymple (18:58) was third for Clarkston and 40th overall.

"Elizabeth (Dalrymple) ran a strong race," Breen said. "She (Dalrymple) had some stress fractures, but what a tough girl. She pounded it out all season. We worked her into the season slowly, and she ended up finishing the season really strong."

Senior Mallory Ferguson (19:11) came in fourth for Clarkston and 59th overall after overcoming adversity in her junior year.

"Mallory had to go to the hospital last season after the Jackson Invitational because of heat exhaustion, and this was probably her best race since then," Breen said. "Her confidence was shaken and she came completely back."

Pioneer coach Nancy Boudreau was thrilled with her team's second-place finish.

"We're extremely happy with second, didn't think we could do that," Boudreau said. "We had probably the  muddiest starting area. The girls were kind of psyched out about it, but everybody ran a solid race."

Pioneer's top finisher was junior Zofia Dudek (17:59), who came in third.

"Zofia had her best race ever," Boudrea said. "She's coming off an injury, and next year she could be number one."

Rockford senior Ericka VanderLende won the overall title in 17:08 and West Bloomfield senior Kyla Christopher-Moody was second (17:58).

Pinckney (206) was third in the team competition. 

Division 2

East Grand Rapids won the team title with 51 points and four runners in the top 20, including Margaret Coney (18:38) in fourth and Ainsley Workman (18:51) in 11th. 

Lansing Catholic's Jaden Theis (18:01) won the overall crown.

 DeWitt (159) was second and Petoskey (169) was third.

Dearborn Divine Child (244) was fourth, paced by Audrey Renaud (19:37), who was 41st overall.

Division 3

Three Ackleys finished in the top 13 and their team, Hart, dominated with 43 points to win the championship. Adelyn Ackley was the overall winner in 17:42, Savannah Ackley was seventh in 19:15, and Lynae Ackley was 13th in 19:31.

Grandville Calvin Christian was second with 143 points.

Shepherd's Amber Gall (17:53) was second, and Kent City's Lauren Freeland (18:40) was third.

The top area team was Allen Park Cabrini (593), which came in 23rd.

Division 4

Muskegon Christian freshman Abby VanderKooi (17:47) won the Division 4 race by a 1:15 margin over second-place finisher Madison Volz (19:02) of Lansing Christian.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart won the team title with 69 points and two runners in the top eight. Desiree McConnell (19:44) was sixth and Scout Nelson (19:50) was eighth.

Saugatuck came in second with 82 points.

The top area team was Plymouth Christian (320), which came in 11th.

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer