In what has traditionally been one of the strongest and largest cross country meets in the state of Michigan, Saturday’s Portage Invitational didn’t disappoint. Times were fast across all divisions and spectators and competitors saw a sneak peek of a lot of the top talent that will be racing for state championships next month.
Mendon’s boys team logged 308 points to finish 11th in Division 4. Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart’s score of 114 was good for the team championship. Centreville was 21st with 518. The individual medalist was Ubly senior Alex Grifka, who crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 17 seconds.
Leading the local contingent was Mendon senior Keaton Crotser, who was 26th overall in 17:59. Not far behind was Centreville senior Justus Chupp, who was 29th in 18:03. Mendon freshman Colin Steinberger was just outside the top 50 in 18:37 (56th), and teammate Wyatt Cupp, a senior, was 66th in 18:50.
In the girls competition, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart’s score of 37 was enough for an easy team victory. Centreville was sixth overall with 237, led by freshman Abagail Schlabach’s 17th-place effort in 20:48 and freshman Gabriella Schlabach’s 24th-place run in 21:22. Asia Pratel was next for the Bulldogs in 65th (23:30) and Alexa Jackson was 79th (24:08). Calya Ferrier also scored for Centreville in 88th (24:31).
Concord’s Samantha Saenz was the individual winner in 18:15. Mendon’s MaKenzie Oatley was 137th in 27:27.
Constantine’s boys team placed 18th out of 42 teams with a score of 477. Hanover-Horton won the team championship with 117. Ken’t City senior Fraser Wilson turned in a blistering time of 15 minutes, 39 seconds to hold off Saugatuck junior Corey Gorgas (16:03). Constantine senior Quinten Prieur cracked the top 30 when he finished in 17:17 (29th place). Sam Warren, a senior, was next for the Falcons in 52nd place with a time of 17:47.
Finishing 35th overall was the Constantine girls team, which scored 887 points. Hart won the team title with 52, led by first- and second-place finishers Adelyn Ackley (17:45) and Alayna Ackley (18:47). Allyson Schrock, a freshman, paced the Lady Falcons with a time of 23:17, which was good for 146th place.
The Three Rivers boys team placed 48th and the Lady Wildcats were 42nd at Portage. Lansing Catholic was the boys team champion (103), and Coldwater’s Shuaib Aljabaly outkicked Fremont’s Ben Schmidt to the finish to win individual honors in 15:43.
Dearborn Divine Child claimed the girls team victory with 169. Lansing Catholic senior Olivia Theis won the race by a minute in 17:00.
“We didn’t have a very good finish place as a varsity team, but the girls that were able to run for us today all did very well,” Three Rivers girls coach Josh Bell said. “We had most of our runners earn either their fastest or second fastest times of the season. Runners racing their personal best were: Chloe Hewitt, Jessica Barnes, Kerrigan Borst and Natalie Kelley.”
Carissa Kelley led Three Rivers in the girls race in 133rd place with a time of 21:49. Cole Appolini was the top boys finisher for the Wildcats in 219th place in 19:36.
Photos by Nicci Plummer