Saline ran well but settled for second at the girls regional cross country meet at Lake Erie Metropark. Saline’s top six runners finished before the fifth Pioneer runner came in, but the Pioneers’ won by by placing four girls in the top eight.
Saline finished with 47 points, seven back of Pioneer, which also won the SEC Red championship. Pioneer snapped Saline’s 14-year regional championship streak.
The Hornets were led by Saline junior Jessie Larson (18:33) who finished second to Pioneer’s Anne Forsyth (18:16) on a slow, muddy and soft course.
Larson suffered an injury at the state track and field championships in the spring and returned to acation a week ago.
“She looks great. Watching her run is amazing. She’s hard charging late in the race,” Head coach Carl Spina said. “She hasn’t had a chance to race in a field yet. She’s been chasing that number one girl both races. So we’re excited to see her at a big race.”
That comes next Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
Larson is satisfied with the progress she’s made.
“It’s been a long journey back, but I’m happy with the way I ran,” Larson said.
Larson said she’s been impressed by the way the team ran all year.
“They did such a great job. I’m so proud of them. I enjoyed watching them,” Larson said.
Other than Larson, it was the first regional for all the girls on the Saline team.
Senior captain Regan Barsch was fifth in 19:13.63 and sophomore Kayla Fortino was ninth in 19:54.63.
Juniors Juliana Romero (15th, 20:23) and Rebecca Cantrell (16th, 20:30) accounted for the rest of the Saline scoring. Sophomore Alexa Stern (17th, 20:32) and freshman Ella Woehlke (21st, 20:53) also ran for Saline.
Larson, Barsch, Fortino and Romero earned medals – the first regional medals for Barsch, Fortino and Romero.
By taking second in the meet the girls qualified for the MHSAA Division 1 state meet at Michigan International Speedway Nov. 5. The girls race at 5 p.m.
The Ann Arbor Running Company 3 Stars
- Jessi Larson – After being out with an injury for more than four months, Larson is back and she looks like she never left.
- Regan Barsch – In her first regional, the Saline senior finished fifth. Her time was only 10 seconds off her career best – not bad considering the state of the course.
- Kayla Fortino - The sophomore also ran in her first regional and she took ninth.