Otsego freshman Gracie VerHage placed 12th at the regional meet. (Photo by Ginger Titus)

Bulldog girls get edged out by St. Joseph at D2 regional meet

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Based on the final rankings of the regular season, the Division 2 girls’ cross country regional at Portage West Middle School should have been a nip-and-tuck battle between Otsego and St. Joseph at the Saturday, Oct. 25, meet.
And that’s exactly what it was.
The third-ranked Bulldogs ended with 55 points to finish runner-up to second-ranked St. Joe by four points.
Middleville was third with 87 points to join St. Joe and Otsego in qualifying for the state finals at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Saturday, Nov. 1.
Hamilton missed qualifying by one slot, finishing fourth with 101 points. The Hawkeyes will still be represented though, as sophomore Erika Freyhof posted a meet-winning time of 18:39 to qualify as an individual.
Otsego coach Steve Long said the race was every bit as competitive as he had anticipated and he looks forward to a rematch at the state finals.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” he said. “But we are for sure one of the top teams in the state and we’re blessed with the opportunity to put our hard work on display next Saturday.”
Sophomore Megan Aalberts spearheaded the Otsego attack, running a 19:10 to finish third behind Freyhof and Middleville’s Melissa Winchester. Freshmen Maddie Marciniak (19:38) and Gracie VerHage (19:46) were the next two finishers for Otsego at 10th and 12th, respectively. And both set new personal records in the process, with Marciniak cutting 25 seconds off her previous best.
“Our freshmen really stepped up to earn All-Region honors,” Long said.
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the October 30 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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