The Grand Ledge girls’ cross country team traveled to Brighton to compete in the annual Coaching Legends Classic Invitational on October 1st. The Comets finished 14th out of 14 teams which may seem like a result that might disappoint coach Fred Hutchinson but the opposite was actually the case.
“I thought we ran better today than we have all year,” said Hutchinson. “This meet is an ultra competitive mid-sized meet that we ran without our number two runner Claudia Baryo who was out with an illness. Had she run I estimate we would have finished around 7th or 8th overall.”
The Comets have recently battled illness and are yet to send to the starting line a full or healthy team. “This season has been challenging thus far, trying to work through a few injury issues and now it seems like several members of our team our fighting colds, the flu and various ailments,” the veteran Comet coach said. “We are remaining patient and I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks when we are healthier, rested and ready to give a full effort as a group.”
Highlights for the Comets included Jenna Magness finishing 8th overall with another great race. “Jenna has been so good this year. Again, today not having a great race but somehow managing to put together a top 10 finish shows how tough she is,” praised Hutchinson. “I thought Hannah Schafer, despite a nagging injury, did much better today. She ran her lifetime best and seems like she is on the road to recovery.”
Hannah, along with freshman Courtney Hughes who filled in at the number two spot for the Comets had solid performances.
“I was also impressed with Sarah Padilla who ran a lifetime best by over one minute,” Hutchinson said. “She has come such a long way since she started running last year. She is the epitome of a hard working and coachable kid.”
Other outstanding efforts of his JV kids impressed the coach. “I really liked the effort from Kelsey Kehren, Elizabeth Gay and Cheryl Johnson today,” said Hutchinson. “They all ran very competitive and determined races. I was especially pleased with the two freshmen (Kehren and Gay) because they are still so new to racing and are making significant progress. They have a lot of upside and next year or maybe even later this season, they may become significant varsity contributors.”
The Comets travel to Portage for the Portage Invite on Sat Oct 8 before beginning the championship portion of the season.