The Saline girls cross country team is in a rebuilding year. So with their one star runner out with an injury, Saturday’s second place finish at the Bret Clements Bath Invitational was a pleasant surprise.
(Photos by Ginger Liemohn)
Saline finished with 88 points, behind Northville (60) and ahead of Hudsonville (114) and Rockford (143) in the 13-school class 1 race.
The Hornets were led by senior Regan Barsch, who broke 20 minutes for the first time in her career. She finished in 19:40.1 and finished 11th. Barsch ran with sophomore Kayla Fortino (12th, 19:57) for much of the race and then pulled away at the end.
“I think the entire top seven had a pretty good day. I don't see a bad race on the chart. Barsch ran under 20 minutes for the first time and led the team. She was neck and neck with Fortino for most of the race, and that girl is tough in the finish, and Barsch finished 17 seconds ahead of her. That says a lot about Barsch,” Spina said.
Sophomore Emma Cummings was 18th in 20:26.1. Senior Gillian Hartley (23rd, 20:40) and junior Juliana Romero (24th, 20:31) completed the scoring for Saline. Freshmenn Katelyn Szagranski (27th, 20:52) and Ella Woehlke (30th, 21:00) also ran well for the Lady Hornets.
“We had two freshmen in the lineup. There were a lot of pre-race nerves for them, but they managed them well. Stepping up and performing is a big deal, so that was important to see,” Spina said.
Despite a solid summer of training the second place finish beat all expectations, Spina said.
“Based on the teams there, I thought we would be fourth or fifth. If we got lucky, I thought we might eke out a 3rd. I don't think anyone expected the girls to be second. That's just far above where we should be at this point based on the talent we brought back from 2015,” Spina said
Spina said girls, coaches and parents were pleased.
“One of our parents came trotting over and told everyone, ‘The girls were second!’ The response from the parents and kids was either a shriek of delight or a question: ‘The girls were second?!’ It was a pretty cool moment to be part of. I'll hang on to that, for sure,” Spina said.
The Ann Arbor Running Company 3 Stars
- Regan Barsch – Last year at this time of year the senior was running in 22+ minutes. That makes her PR of 19:40.1 look even better.
- Kayla Fortino – The sophomore was nearly 20 seconds faster than she was a couple of weeks ago at the A2 Running Co. End of Summer Classic.
- Emma Cummings – The sophomore finished 18th in 20:26.