Girls Cross Country: Pioneers run away with SEC Jamboree (see photo gallery – 150 photos!)

The Pioneer girls’ cross country team took the top three spots and four of the top five and ran away with the SEC Jamboree 1 on Tuesday at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter. The Pioneers finished with an amazing 19 points as all five placed in the top eight.

In any other race, Saline would have “ran away” with the meet but the talented Hornets had to settle for second with 46 points. Speaking of talented, Dexter had an impressive showing by taking third with 81 points.

The other two Ann Arbor schools also had strong showings. Skyline was fourth (115) and Huron took fifth (162). Chelsea was sixth (196), Tecumseh seventh (202), Pinckney eighth (216) and Adrian ninth (221) in the 12-team event.


The Pioneers, the defending MHSAA Division 1 Girls Cross Country State Champions, were led by Rachel Forsyth, who finished second at the state finals last year as a freshman. The sophomore separated from the pack early and cruised over the finish line all by herself with a time of 18 minutes, 37.6 seconds.

Pioneer teammate Emily Cooper, a junior, crossed second in 18:45.7 and senior Sarah Forsyth was third in 19:01.0 to help the Pioneers go win, place and show.
Pioneer sophomore Natalie Mello was fifth (19:18.4) and senior Charlotte Batra was eighth (19:45.1) to round out the scoring for the winners.

The Dreadnaughts were led up front by both experience and youth. Senior Amanda McGill ran an outstanding race and placed seventh overall in 19:26.9. Just two places back was fabulous freshman Alena Blumberg who ran ninth in 20:02.4.

Dexter had two other rans crack the top 20 – senior Hannah McComas was 17th (20:33.9) and sophomore Kate Varitek was 20th (20:46.1). Four other Dreadnaughts crossed in the top 50: senior Ashley Mitchell (31st, 21:31.2); junior Quinn Hilla (38th, 21:59.4); senior Annissa Sisson (44th, 22:18.8); and freshman Annabel O’Haver (45th, 22:23.9). Sophomore Stella Niemi was 73rd in 24:06.4.


The future looks bright for Skyline as the Eagles landed all underclassmen in their top five. Sophomore Allison Mayer led the way for Skyline as she crossed the finish line in 11th place in 20:09.0. Also cracking the top 20 was junior Natalie Kessler who was 18th in 20:34.9.

Among the top 30 finishers for Skyline were junior Lydia Cocciolone (24th, 21:01.4) and sophomore Celia Begosso (29th, 21:18.3). Junior Annalisa DeGuzman was 40th (22:07.1), senior Caitlyn Donnelly was 53rd (23:03.4), freshman Ayla Balazer was 54th (23:06.3), junior Miranda Nielsen was 61st (23:20.4), junior Fiona Shangguan was 62nd (23:30.1), and junior Elizabeth Beck was 72nd (24:05.0).

The River Rats were led by Lucinda Paliani. Only a freshman, Paliani crossed in 13th place with a time of 20:17.5. Sophomore Sonya Shelgikar also ran well for Huron. She was 22nd overall with a time of 20:53.9.

Huron junior Rachel Overgaard was 36th (21:52.9), junior Emily Ma was 51st (23:02.7), sophomore Sarah Conley was 52nd (23:03.0) and freshman Jaya Shah was 71st (24:04.1).