FHC Girls Cross Country Wins Conference, Boys Place in 4th


The Forest Hills Central girls cross country team proved themselves the number one team out of all OK White schools on Wednesday after their final conference meet at Comstock Riverside Park. Additionally, the mens cross country team placed fourth out of the six teams competing for the conference title.

“Going into the season, we had this lofty goal of winning conference,” said FHC junior Amytess Girgis, who finished 2nd out 159 female competitors. “We said ‘shoot for the moon and maybe you’ll hit a star.’ I’m just so proud.”

Girgis was one of seven female varsity athletes who secured the FHC victory. Finishing with a time of 19 minutes and three seconds, she fell only to junior Megan Schenkel of Grand Rapids Christian.

Girgis claimed to be initially disappointed by the results of her race, but according to her, the news of the team’s collective triumph outweighed her own results. After she “found out that [FHC] won, [she didn’t] care [about her results] anymore.”

Additionally, top female contenders from FHC included senior Ally Stapleton with a time of 19 minutes and 19 seconds placing in 5th, junior Katie Allen with a time of 19 minutes and 24 seconds placing in 8th, freshman Susannah Bennett with a time of 19 minutes and 25 seconds placing in 9th, and freshman Courtney McAlindon with a time of 19 minutes and 38 seconds placing in 15th.

FHC senior Trystan Thayer held the fastest male time for Central, running the 5k in 17 minutes and 3 seconds and finishing in 15th place. Senior Josh Ball also placed near the top, ranking 17th with the time of 17 minutes and 8 seconds. Thayer was overall satisfied with the mens team’s results.

“I’m pretty happy [with our standings],” Thayer said, “because we don’t usually get fourth [in conference].”

To prepare for the race, Thayer and the team “did a lot of tapering. [They] only had two days between this race and [their] last, so [they] took it really easy and let [their] legs rest up.” According to Thayer, the training paid off.

The Comstock Riverside Park course runs flat along a pond and a river, and this quality differs from what some Central runners prefer.

“For flat courses, there are no obstacles,” Girgis said, “so for some people that’s nice, but for me personally, it makes [the course] harder because there’s nothing to distract from the pain. You just have to try to run fast the whole time. There’s no distractions.”

However, the flat terrain did enable many of the runners on the team to reach new heights. According to head coach Ryan Schipper, “there were a lot of [personal records]. They all did great out there.”

“For both girls and boys, it was fantastic,” Schipper said. “I can’t express the gratitude and the joy that all these kids bring to me. I mean, they work for six months, and now we get to see them take their reward from all that work.”