Theis, EGR Forge Championship Paths

November 3, 2018

Second Half reports

BROOKLYN — The crown is staying in the family.

One year after Lansing Catholic’s Olivia Theis ran the fastest time ever at the MHSAA Girls Cross Country Finals, her sister assumed her vacated Lower Peninsula Division 2 title Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Cougars junior Jaden Theis won with a time of 18:01.9, finishing 14.6 seconds ahead of Makenna Veen of Plainwell.

The first three finishers were juniors. There were no seniors in the top 11.

“I’ve got to keep the tradition going,” Theis said. “It just feels really good to keep the last name out there ruling D2.”

Last year, Olivia Theis set the Finals record with a time of 16:52.1, breaking a mark held by 2009 Foot Locker national champion Megan Goethals of Rochester. So, it helped that Jaden didn’t have to contend with her sister this year. It also helped being healthy.

“I was sixth last year,” she said. “My ankle was bothering me.”

Jaden had the benefit of getting sisterly advice from an MHSAA record holder.

The advice?

“Just stay calm, relax, have fun out there,” Jaden said. “I wasn’t too worried about time today, knowing the course conditions. I’m happy with it.”

Veen has finished in the top five three times at MIS, with one season remaining. She was fourth as a freshman, fifth as a sophomore and second this year.

“I honestly didn’t expect to place as well as I did,” Veen said. “But I race well in these nasty conditions.”

East Grand Rapids won the team championship in commanding fashion, scoring 51 points to win by 108 over runner-up DeWitt. The Pioneers had their five scoring runners across the line before DeWitt got its second finisher.

All five of East Grand Rapids’ scorers made all-state by placing in the top 30. Junior Margaret Coney was fifth in 18:38.2, freshman Ainsley Workman was 11th in 18:51.2, junior Katie Hessler was 15th in 18:56.6, junior Anna Petr was 20th in 19:02.8 and senior Audrey Whiteside was 21st in 19:04.4.

The Pioneers moved back to Division 2 after placing 13th in Division 1 last year. Their times Saturday would’ve made them competitive with Division 1 champion Clarkston. Clarkston’s first two runners were faster than East Grand Rapids’ by considerable margins, but the Pioneers had the advantage by close margins with their third, fourth and fifth runners. The teams would’ve tied, 147-147, if East Grand Rapids ran the same times in Division 1, with Clarkston winning the sixth-runner tie-breaker.

It was the sixth MHSAA Finals championship for East Grand Rapids, which last won in 2011.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Lansing Catholic’s Jaden Theis comes around a bend during the Division 2 Final on Saturday at MIS. (Middle) East Grand Rapids’ Katie Hessler (1334), Anna Petr (1335) and Audrey Whiteside run as part of a pack early in the Division 2 Final. (Click for more from

Performance of the Week: Ann Arbor Pioneer's Rachel Forsyth

September 1, 2023

Rachel ForsythRachel 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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@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️POW: Rachel Forsyth⁣ #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #tv #republicofdoyle #disneymovies #mulan #frozen #running #icecream #swimming #emoji#performanceoftheweek #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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(PHOTOS by Run Michigan.)