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Girls cross country: Hart makes it four straight in Division 3

By Eric Coughlin
Special to The Detroit News

As a heavy favorite, Hart girls cross country cruised to its fourth-straight Division 3 title, scoring 59 points on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Hart placed four runners in the top 10. Freshman Alyson Enns (18:05.97) was second overall, senior Savannah Ackley (18:31.89) third, junior Audrianna Enns (18:43.25) fifth, senior Lynae Ackley (19:15.04) 10th and junior Lauren Vanderlaan (21:02.51) 68th.


The real competition was for second place, where Ithaca edged Grandville Calvin Christian, 114-121.

“We were thrilled, and I was very proud of the way the girls raced,” Ithaca coach Gene Lebron said.

Junior Lani Bloom (18:32.26) was Ithaca’s fastest and came in fourth, while senior Grace Weburg (19:59.29) made a major contribution at 23rd overall.

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“She (Weburg) came out as a sophomore on our J.V.” Lebron said. “Through COVID and everything she trained really hard and became all-state. I’ll be talking about Grace for years and using her story of vast improvement as an example of what you can do when you work hard. There are very few girls in the state that have shown the kind of improvement that she has.”

Senior Abi Whitford (20:13.27) wasn’t too far behind Weburg in 32nd.

“Her (Whitford’s) career has been fantastic," Lebron said. "She’s a four-year qualifier and in her senior year we finish runner-up. She’s a hardworking kid."

Junior Rachael Sierakowski (20:39.07) finished 49th, freshman Liliana Lehnst (20:50.51) 57th, senior Josie Morrow (22:07.61) 144th and junior Kylea Braman (23:14.77) 193d.

“Throughout her (Morrow’s) time with us she has been a really consistent scorer for us,” Lebron said. “Her efforts are great appreciated.”

Muskegon Western’s Abby VanderKooi (17:12.47) proved to be the fastest girls cross country runner in the state, regardless of division. The junior netted her third-straight individual title, this time in Division 3.

Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest came in 24th, paced by freshman Abby Rice (21:12.72).

Junior Claire Thomson (20:13.96), of Clawson, finished 35th.

Division 4

Lansing Christian won easily with 93 points, placing sophomore Ashlyn Kephart sixth overall (20:06.35), then putting two more runners in the top 12.

Maple City Glen Lake’s Makenna Scott (19:30.2) won the overall crown, with Webberville’s Sara Spalding (19:44.53) following in second.

Kalamazoo Christian (142) was second and Beal City (143) was third.

Clarkston Everest was seventh, paced by Caroline Cross (21:24.57), who was 44th overall.

Freshman Ava Teed (20:38.89), of Allen Park Cabrini, came in 15th.