By Ben Murphy
Clare ran in one of the most competitive cross country races in the state on Saturday at the Portage Invitational. The Pioneers did just fine as the girls came in seventh and the boys placed fifth in the 46 team meet.
Freshman Jasmine Harper ran a school record time of 18:35 to win the meet, beating out the previous record set be Jesse Rodgers of 18:46 in 2000. Vicotira Harper was 31st at 20:19, Holly Pummell was 33rd at 20:21 to round out medal winners for Clare.
Hannah Brown was 79th at 21:36, Robyn Stanley was 126th at 22:28, Madison McPhee ran a 23:52 and Jordyn Bradley ran a 23:53.
In the junior varsity race Amanda Yats finished 49th (23:37), Sam Gray was 53rd (23:40), Makenzie Harmon placed 66th (23:58), Olivia Walworth was 84th (24:57), Sarah Gray placed 87th (25:07), Ashley Boulis was 88th (25:09), Bethanie Jones came in 110th (25:49), Megan Sheredy crossed 114th (26:06), Angelica Krueger was 117th (26:15), Jillian Pappas was 119th (26:18), Alexis Harton came in 26:28, Hannah Bauman time out at 27:22, and Natalie Fedewa ran a 27:54.
“I was very impressed with our total team performance today,” Clare girls’ Kyle McKown said. “The girls were focused on having strong races even before the gun went off, and knowing that the competition was going to be as challenging as it was only seemed to push them even harder.
“I am extremely proud of Jasmine for becoming the fastest female in the history of Clare cross country,” McKown added. “She ran a very strong race, made her move to lead shortly after the three-quarter mile mark and maintained a solid pace throughout the rest of the entire race. Today’s race featured some of the top individuals and teams in the state and we are excited about the way that our girls were able to step up to the challenges that they faced.”
The boys team came in fifth place for their highest finish in the race in school history.
Kyler Phillips led Clare with a 13th place finish and time of 16:30, Hunter Nivison placed 16th at 16:34, Kevin Spicer-Torres was 41st at 17:14, Ben Haupt was 49th at 17:18 and Chase Field was 150th at 18:47.
“Though we have a few kinks to work on over the next few weeks, I’m highly impressed overall by our performances,” boys’ head coach Adam Burhans said.
Both Clare teams compete on Wednesday at the final Jack Pine Conference meet of the season, where each squad will look to finish off conference championships.