The Pioneer girls’ cross country team cleared the final hurdle on Saturday.
Over the past three years, the Pioneers have finished second, fourth and second again at the Division 1 State Finals at Michigan International Speedway. On Saturday, the Pioneers took one final step to the top and did it with one giant leap, leaving no doubt who the best team in 2019 was at Brooklyn.
The Pioneers had all five runners finish among the top 39 finishers and scored an impressive 80 points to win the D-1 State Championship on a chilly but mostly dry Saturday afternoon at MIS. Traverse City Central finished a distant second with 113 points followed by Saline (182 points), Brighton (197), Bay City Western (213) and Northville (231).
“I’m just so proud of the whole team,” said Pioneer Coach Nancy Boudreau. “This really is a team victory. It’s not just the top seven runners who earned this. We had 20 girls on the team who didn’t run but who showed up to support their teammates and be with them (Saturday).”
Boudreau, who coaches the team along with Ian Forsyth and Brian Hockley, admitted being a little nervous because they were the favorites this year and not winning as the favorites can bring “bigger disappointment.” But before her girls crossed the finish line, she figured they had it won.
“I wasn’t at the finish line,” she said. “I went to the back of the course. The last I saw them they were headed back towards the track and at that time we had our top five among the top 50, so I figured we were in pretty good shape at that point.”
Having five runners finish among the top 30 is an amazing and dominating performance.
And Boudreau didn’t need to be at the finish line to know who finished first overall. Senior Zofia Dudek ran away with the D-1 state title with a time of 17:00.4, fourth fastest ever at MIS. Holland West Ottawa’s Arianne Olson was a distant second with a time of 17:53.0.
Pioneer’s Sarah Forsyth was ninth in 18:14.4. The sophomore outran a crowded pack near the finish line to give the purple and white two runners in the top 10.
Cookie Baugh, another strong sophomore runner, was 32nd in 18:50.2, senior Anna Vogel was 36th in 19:01.2 and sophomore Charlotte Batra was 39th in 19:07.9 to round out Pioneer’s scoring.
Pioneer junior Anna Dudek was 58th overall in 19:25.0 and teammate Danielle Armstrong, a senior, ran 20:13.5.
Skyline junior Laura O’Brien ran a 19:24.9 to finish 57th overall for the Eagles.
Huron junior Sam Hastie went 19:35.1 to finish 81st for the River Rats.