The St. Ignace girls won for the first time in three years, squeezing past two-time reigning champion Hancock 53-54.
The Saints had finished runners-up to Hancock the last two seasons, finishing 22 points back in 2019 and 36 in 2018.
St. Ignace’s five runners all crossed among the top 16 individuals. Hancock crossed three of the top eight.
Third-place Ironwood had 73 points. Ironwood junior Aundrea Stengard gained top individual honors at 23:28.1, followed by Ishpeming freshman Lola Korpi (23:42.9), Hancock sophomore Maylie Kilpela (25:10.5), St. Ignace freshman Wisteria Brady (25:13.7) and Hancock junior Sierrah Driscoll (25:25.8).
"I just wanted to stay with her and then maybe get a lead at the end, which is kind've what I did," Stengard said of running with Korpi. "For the first two miles I ran with her, and then the third mile I managed to get a little lead.
"Some spots were slippery, so I struggled a little with that. But otherwise it went pretty well."
She added that running in the snow definitely made for a more difficult race, and the times showed it. But sun or snow, the opportunity to compete was worth it.
"It was just so different from normal years, with all the corona(virus) stuff and everything, and the snow, it was just really different," Stengard said. "But I'm glad we got to have a season overall."
PHOTOS: Ironwood’s Aundrea Stengard takes the final paces of her championship-winning race Saturday at George Young Recreational Complex. (Below) St. Ignace claimed its first Finals championship since 2017. (Photos by Theresa Proudfit.)
Rachel Forsyth ♦ Ann Arbor Pioneer
Senior ♦ Cross Country
The latest in a long line of Pioneer distance stars, Forsyth began her final high school cross country season with a nearly 26-second victory in the big-school race at the Benzie Central Pete Moss Invitational on Saturday. She ran a personal-record 17:09.24, which says a ton considering her past work; Forsyth was the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final champion in 2021 as a sophomore and the 2020 runner-up in her first trip to Michigan International Speedway. What's more, she was followed in this Benzie race by reigning Division 3 champion Jessica Jazwinski of Hart in second and last year's Division 4 champion Aiden Harrand of Buckley in third as Pioneer finished second as a team against an elite field.
An injury delayed the start of Forsyth's junior season last fall until the end of September, and she ran only 62nd at the LPD1 Final five weeks later. But she was clearly back to unstoppable during track season, setting personal records in the 3,200, 1,600, 800 and 400 while going undefeated in individual events for the spring and winning LPD1 Finals championships in the 800, 1,600 and as part of the 3,200 relay. She and her siblings have enjoyed an incredible run of success over the last decade; older sister Anne Forsyth was a four-time top-15 cross country finisher at LPD1 Finals and runner-up as a junior in 2016, and sister Sarah Forsyth twice finished among the top 10 individually and as a senior with Rachel in 2021 helped Pioneer to the team title.
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(PHOTOS by Run Michigan.)