Mackenzie Hill (right) and her Plainwell teammates placed 14 out of 38 teams in the Spartan Elite race. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)Joy Wolfe was the top finisher for Otsego at the Spartan Invitational. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Plainwell, Otsego girls perform well at Spartan Elite

Jason Wesseldyk

Nine points.
That’s all that separated the girls’ cross country teams from Plainwell and Otsego in the Elite Division race of the Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 13.
The Trojans placed 14th out of 38 teams with 478 points, while the Bulldogs placed 16th with 487 points.
The Elite Division features the top teams throughout the state regardless of division.
“I was very happy with our performance,” Plainwell coach Brett Beier said. “Traditionally, (the Spartan Invitational) isn’t one of our fastest days. But all the girls ran strong and battled well against the opponents around them.  
“We accomplished a couple team goals today and look forward to building on them as the season progresses.”
Senior Makenna Veen, who placed second at the Division 2 state finals last season, paced Plainwell with an 11th-place finish of 18:26.
“Makenna ran a very smart race,” Beier said. “We talked before the race about the importance of getting out in the very front pack from the start and she executed that plan flawlessly. At the 400 meter mark, she was running right behind the leaders and then she settled in to her pace and ran a smart, controlled race from that point on.”
Freshman Grace Pettit, who medaled in the event’s middle school race as a sixth grader, was 35th  at 19:22.
“Grace had a great debut at the high school version of the Spartan Invite,” Beier said. “She got out just behind Makenna and finished as one of the top Michigan freshmen in the race.”
Sophomore Mackenzie Hill (81st at 20:27), Lydia Bacon (192nd at 22:11) and sophomore Morgan Try (214th at 22:26) also scored for Plainwell.
Otsego, meanwhile, was led by sophomore Joy Wolfe, who was 62nd at 20:06. Freshman Chelsea Glessner (68th at 20:16), sophomore Claudia Stachura (83rd at 20:28), junior Ashley Goodrich (138th at 21:23) and junior Briahna Mosher (194th at 22:11) also posted scoring times for the Bulldogs.
“I was happy with things how things turned out,” Otsego coach Steve Long said. “I know our potential is much higher than how the girls performed, but I ran a hypothetical with all D2 schools that competed and my girls were the fifth-place team in D2. We beat a lot of ranked teams.
“So, knowing we can perform much better but we were still one of the top-five teams for the day was impressive.”


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