Lady Pioneers run to fourth place finish in state

November 8, 2018

By Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

Clare’s seemingly annual trip to the cross country finals didn’t disappoint Saturday.

The Pioneer squads, running at the division three state championship meet at Brooklyn’s Michigan International Speedway overcame wet and muddy conditions on the course to allow the girls team to take fourth and the boys 18th.

“We are very proud of all that this team came together to accomplish this season,” girls head coach Kyle McKown said. “Among the best teams in the state, to finish fourth isn’t easy and it shows just how hard that this group of athletes have worked in order to accomplish this together.”

Lainey Veenkant led the way for the girls, as she took ninth place to earn all-state honors in a time of 19:21. Olivia Haring was 39th in a time of 20:20.

“Lainey ends her career as a four time all-state athlete and Haring also ran the final race of her high school career in impressive fashion, leading our pack like the champion that she is and narrowly missing all-state honors,” McKown said.

Katherine Haupt placed 45th and timed out at 20:27, in 73rd was Kameron Haag with a time of 20:45, Riley Schroeder was 83rd at 20:54, Abby Leigh was 124th after clocking a 21:32 and Sofiah Coker was 134th at 21:39.
“The course was in rough shape with very muddy conditions, especially at the start,” McKown said. “Ultimately, it’s a race though and it’s all about being able to endure more and tough out whatever life throws at you. I thought that the girls adapted quickly and responded well to the conditions of the course.”

The Pioneers only lose two seniors from the state finals team, though they happen to be their top two runners in Veenkant and Haring.

“This team is special and a group of athletes like this doesn’t come around very often,” McKown said. “We are thankful and blessed for all of the success that this team has come together to accomplish.  As much as we are proud of the things that they have earned, I think that the lasting legacy of this team will forever be how close of friends that they are and how their efforts continue to pave the way for future athletes to carry the torch for the entire program.  To say that we are proud of this team would be an understatement. We have a great group of athletes coming back next season and we can’t wait to see all of them step into new leadership roles as they chase the big team and personal goals that they have set.

Abby Leigh

Abby Leigh

Kameron Haag

Kameron Haag

Laney Veenkant

Laney Veenkant

Olivia Haring

Olivia Haring

 

Photos by Ben Murphy

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