Girls Cross Country Team places first at OK White Conference Jamboree

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Karisah Watkins-Martin

The sound of muffled cries and victorious sobs filled Gainey Athletic Complex on Wednesday, September 23rd.

The Forest Hills Central girls cross country team placed first out of the six teams competing at the OK White conference meet.

Junior Eryn Ho was just one of the many weeping girls who shared this emotional moment. She stated that it was a bittersweet moment as she stepped over the finish line with a time of 22 minutes and 54 seconds.

“After you step over the finish line, you’re still pretty exhausted and shocked,” Ho said. “But as soon as you get over that feeling, you feel accomplished. … The team is congratulating you and it feels amazing to be surrounded by all your teammates and family.”

Team captain Aubreigh Doran agreed with Ho. She stated that while her calves were in a lot of agony, the familiar course made it a lot easier to deal with the pain.

“This course is one of our favorites,” said Doran, who covered the course in 27 minutes and 45 seconds. “It has a lot of twists and turns in it, but it is generally pretty flat. The flat terrain allowed us to run a lot faster than we would have if there were bumps and hills. Our team has run this particular course 3 times, so all the runners were pretty familiar with it. I feel like that not only helped me deal with the pain, but it also helped the team place well.”

The Lady Rangers placed right above Grand Rapids Christian team by a mere 7 points, with junior Amytess Girgis taking first overall with a time of 19:25.  Senior Ally Stapleton fell only 3 places under her with a time of 19:47. Junior Katie Allen trailed only slightly behind Girgis and Stapleton, placing 5th overall with a time of 20:01. Freshmen Susannah Bennett and Courtney McAlindoon placed 10th and 20th respectively, both in the team’s top five, and seniors Catherine Stapleton and Cecelia Batterbee rounded out the team’s varsity seven.

And while many would agree that the team did exceptionally well, Doran argued that the team could have done better. “I feel like me and the rest of the girls may not have placed as well because of multiple injuries, but overall I’m satisfied. We did our best and put our hearts into the race, which is all that matters.”

Head coach Ryan Schipper noted that while the team may have been hindered by injuries, the team still pulled it together for the meet.

“I am extremely proud of the team,” Schipper said. “You can tell that they really put their heart into this race, which I believe ultimately resulted in the victory.”