In only its third year as a standalone team, EC’s cross country team made school history this weekend as they represented the school at the state meet after placing 3rd at the MHSAA regional meet and qualifying as a team for states.
The girls walked the EC halls on Friday with all their peers cheering them on before running through a tunnel of JV runners into the van decked out for the occasion to head to Michigan International Speedway. On Saturday morning, the JV squad, parents, and even alum came out to cheer the varsity runners on. On a field of the top D4 runners in the State of Michigan, the EC runners were ranked to place 149, 153, 170, 203, 223, 226, and 231 respectively. The course was muddy impacting the runners times but not their performance. Rising above the challenges they scored far better than anticipated with scores of 106, 112, 166, 190, 196, 209, and 224.
Sophomore Theresa Waller (22:17) finished first for the team followed by Avery Herrgott (22:21), Erin Boom (23:31), Kate Funke (SR – 24:16), Gabi Lazzara (PR – 24:22), Kirsty Liu (24:51), and Molly Milosch (25:40).
The team reunited for Mass and their sports banquet on Sunday morning. As is EC tradition, each of the three seniors – Olivia Mandziuk, Leah Radich, and Kirsty Liu – had the opportunity to share their reflections with the families. Both Kirsty and Leah are founding members of the team, and Kirsty was also a team captain for the past two years. Kirsty had this to say about her experience running cross country at EC:
“Did you know, in order to become a cop, you need to run two miles in under 25 minutes ?
Little did we know, coach trained us to race, but she also prepared a backup career for all of us.
Three years ago, I joined the EC cross country team, a team that was fresh and young, like a newborn baby. Now the baby is three years old. A human three year old can talk, walk, chase you around, but most importantly, they can understand when you say ‘I love you’ and even say it back sometimes. And that’s what I want to say to this team. I look at this team and say, ‘hey, I love you, and you mean a lot to me.’
I’m originally from China, and growing up there is not about maintaining a healthy body or dedicating time to anything besides academics. But then I came here and found out that people run… for fun! Someone asked me why I chose cross country out of all the other sports, and this is my answer: First of all I’m terrified of balls, so that eliminates of 99% of sports in this world. Second of all, my good friend Leah said she would do it with me to stay in shape. Then she ended up laying in the hospital first month of practice. So I had to run alone, I mean, poor me!
Jokes aside, why do I choose to run that darn 3.1 miles when I could’ve slept in on Saturday mornings? Because that’s how I know, in this current world that is so easy to just give in, I am not giving in. When lassitude tempts me, negativity crosses my head, a voice tells me that I can’t, running that 3.1 miles is me telling myself, ‘Yes, Kirsty, you can, and look how far you’ve come. If she can become a runner from a studying all day loser, become a captain from a girl who was once frightened by public speaking, become someone who appreciates hardship in life from someone who couldn’t understand that tougher decisions are often right. Then you better believe, you can do it too, and running could be your living proof.’
It all started with joining the cross country team, but it never ends even if you cross the finish line.”