The Saline varsity girls cross country team took second in the SEC Jamboree at Heritage Park in Adrian Tuesday.
The Hornets finished with 70 points, about midway between first-place Pioneer (31) and third-place Chelsea (70) in the 11-team race.
The race was won by Pioneer’s Ann Forsyth, who won in 18:46.44. Saline’s top runner was Kayla Fortino. The sophomore placed sixth in 19:58.43.
Coach Carl Spina said that taking sixth in a tough SEC conference is impressive.
“Kayla had a great race. She's just tough, even among cross country athletes, and with a lot on the line, she just goes to what she knows best. We saw that out of her this past spring, when she really started to develop as an athlete,” Spina said. “The SEC has some very good distance runners, so finishing 6th in that field is impressive.”
Senior Regan Barsch was 10th in 20:28. Fellow senior Gillian Hartley was 13th in 20:41. Freshman Ella Woelke (19th, 20:55) and sophomore Alexa Stern (22nd, 21:05) completed the scoring. Junior Rebecca Cantrell (23rd, 21:06), junior Juliana Romero (25th, 21:14), sophomore Emma Cummings (32nd, 21;37), junior Katherine Clark (36th, 21:51) and freshman Kayla Szafranski (47th, 22:22) also ran in the varsity race.
Spina was happy with the second place finish. He thinks the girls performance at Bath gave the girls confidence and proved they could run with most teams. Still, he thought they could have raced better Tuesday, even if racing better wouldn’t have meant catching Pioneer.
“I don't think I'd call today's race a great one, but we have some things we can work on, for sure. I thought Fortino, Hartley, Stern, and Woehlke ran well. Those girls managed the course and pressure very well. That was great to see them develop a bit as athletes. Had all of our girls raced well, I don't think it would have changed the outcome of the race, so that is good,” Spina said. “Long term though, we have to be consistent. There was some pressure today, but what we felt today is nothing compared to what we will see on November 5. We just have to embrace that and look forward to the starting-line nerves.”
Saline won the junior varsity race with a near perfect score. Saline finished with 16 points. Only a fifth place finish by a Bedford runner prevented Saline from a perfect score.
Junior Leah Hyne ran in 21:46 to win the race. Freshman Nicole Dillman was second in 21:47. Yasmine Lajimi was third (22:02) and senior Taylor Vaughan was fourth (22:20). Rosie Kendal completed the scoring, taking sixth in 22:43.
The Ann Arbor Running Company 3 Stars
- Kayla Fortino – After being the second fastest Lady Hornet Saturday, the Saline sophomore jumped up a spot Tuesday. She’s becoming a reliable leader for the Hornets.
- Regan Barsch – Another solid race from the Saline senior.
- Gillian Hartley – Heritage Park proved to be a tough course with several hills, muddy parts and tight curves, so Saline girls saw a significant increase in their time from Saturday. Hartley, however, only increased her time by 1.2 seconds. That bodes well for future meets.