The Grand Ledge girl’s cross country team competed in its second meet of the season and came away with two solid wins against Ionia and Potterville in a double dual meet at Fitzgerald Park.
The Comets defeated Ionia 25-36 and Potterville 17-46. Grand Ledge was led by freshman Brenda Duchene who ran a fantastic race clocking in at 22:35. The Comets took 6 of the next 7 places to handily win the meet.
“I was really impressed with our team today,” coach Fred Hutchinson said. “We didn’t run our top 7 runners from our last race today and we still ran a dominant meet. This is proof of what I’ve believed since this summer that this is the deepest and most talented team I’ve ever coached.”
“We have the kind of group that I feel is going to very special. Our kids work hard, they compete well and more importantly they care for one another and are extremely supportive of each other and they put the team first before themselves. We have the talent and the drive to be one of the best if not the best team I’ve coached in my 11 years in Grand Ledge,” Hutchinson said.
The Comets ran a very intelligent race and were able to hold and in some cases advance their early race positions. Junior Ainsley Vanderlaan was the second Comet to cross the line in 4th place followed closely by Sophomore Kelsey Kehren in 5th, Junnior Sarah Padilla in 7th and sophomore Natalie Wallas closed out the scoring for the Comets by finishing in 8th. The sixth runner, junior Sharon Piedra-Vargas and the 7th Comet senior Claire Davidson all finished ahead of Ionia’s 3rd runner and Potterville’s second runner which increased the team scores of Ionia and Potterville (low score wins in cross country). “I challenged the girls to take advantage of the opportunity they had to compete as varsity athletes and they certainly rose to the challenge today” explained Hutchinson. The race will give the Comets confidence as they had into more competitive and important competitions later in the season.
“The fact that we have 14 kids who now have successful varsity experience really gives us flexibility and the ability to deal with injuries or illness,” Hutchinson said. “If any of our varsity kids become ill or have injury, we have a whole cadre or kids who can step up and contribute. It will actually be difficult at times to settle on varsity line-ups but that is a great problem to have.”
The Comets are in action again on Sept 9 when they travel to the Lee Averill Invitational and compete against some of the best teams from the east side of the state. Given the results achieved today, the Comets will be looking forward to taking a big step toward their season goals when they lace up their spikes at the Averill Invite.