It has been a season at a whole different level for the EC cross country team. As a young team heading into this season, the team hadn’t claimed a single trophy. They thought they had won one last year but the scoring of the Small School Invite at Oakland Christian is different than other meets, so the only trophy the team had is the paper one they made to make up for the loss last year.
The team’s first victory this season came in the form of a 2nd place trophy at the Holly Invite in early September and after that it has been victory-after-victory for the team claiming first place at CHSL Jamborees #2 and #3, the Small School Invite, the Gabriel Richard Invite, and the Lutheran Northwest meet. They took second at the Old Skool Classic.
The team faced a tough challenge this season with Allen Park Cabrini coming down from D3 to D4, adding competition to the regional field. The top-ranked teams in the region flip-flopped all season between Everest, Shrine, Cabrini, and Plymouth Christian. As the season progressed, the Mountaineers consistently started outrunning their competitors, but the scores were tight. After winning the league title, the team had a tough loss at the CHSL Championship. Down a runner, the team lost the championship in a tie-breaker. Today the team came back with vengeance and claimed the regional title by 11 points.
The team is in its fourth year of existence, with its final founding members graduating this spring. They have been aware of the legacy they are creating for EC runners and talked about what it means for them. One runner stated, “It means that we set that standard for all future EC runners.” And set the standard they did with the team’s first regional championship. Seventeen of the Mountaineers ran their best times to date, setting new personal records. Caroline Cross improved her own school record with a new time of 20:14.1. Caroline, Avery Herrgott, and Theresa Waller all medaled in the top 15 of the varsity race.
Head coach Mary Williams shared, “We had our pre-regional debrief on Thursday afternoon. Each runner wrote down two reasons she believed she could run her personal best at regionals. They believed they were capable of it, and they did it. Perhaps more importantly, they also shared what they will remember about this team, and how what they have learned about themselves this season will impact their daily lives. They shared how important the team culture is to them, and how they will know they are capable of more than they imagined. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”
The Mountaineers advance to the the D4 State Finals next Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.