by Calli Newberry
If there’s anything head Croswell-Lexington cross country coach Lisa Shaw does, she makes sure everyone on her team knows they are valued and important. From the No. 1 runner to No. 10, she reminds them all that they have a role on the team, and that was never more true than in Tuesday’s first BWAC Jamboree of the season in Goodells County Park.
When it comes to cross country, the top five runners on each team score, and the lowest score wins. North Branch had the overall individual winner and four more runners in front of Cros-Lex’s number four to give them 55 points. Typically this would be good enough to seal a victory, but a pack of Pioneers filled the third, fourth, and fifth overall spots, and their fourth and fifth runners took 20th and 23rd overall, also totalling 55 points.
And so the decision turns to a tie breaker: the No. 6 runners on each team.
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For Cros-Lex, that runner was freshman Brynn Hurley, who finished directly behind her junior teammate, Aubrey Connelly, in 24th. North Branch’s No. 6 was only two spots and seven seconds behind, taking 26th, giving the Pioneers the first BWAC title of the season.
With Cros-Lex edging out North Branch, each with 55 points, Armada’s team finished third with 86 and Imlay City took fourth, totaling 96. Richmond finished fifth with 120, Almont was sixth with 147, Yale was next with 175, and rounding out the team scores was Algonac with 193.
Senior Haileigh Bissett won overall in 20:07.48, nearly 30 seconds ahead of second-place finisher, senior Elizabeth Sliman from Imlay City, who crossed the line in 20:46.18.
Cros-Lex’s top three runners swept the next three spots: sophomore Morgan Newton (21:15.07), freshman Eva Thompson (21:17.36), and sophomore Abagayle Barkley (21:43.27).
Another Imlay City runner took sixth, junior Jenna Denver, in 21:55.65, and North Branch sophomore Grace Clemens finished seventh in 22:07.57. Rounding out the top 10 in a span of nine seconds were freshman Brooklyn Khon from Armada (22:16.33), senior Catie Dusenberry of Algonac (22:20.08), and sophomore Darrah Mackenzie, also from Armada, in 22:25.36.
The next BWAC Jamboree will be Tuesday, Sept. 28 in Almont. This weekend, however, teams will be spreading out throughout the state in preparation for the next time they meet. Yale and Algonac will compete at Michigan State University, Almont and Cros-Lex are heading to Stony Creek Metropark, North Branch, Richmond, and Armada are competing in Holly, and Imlay City is off to Columbus County Park. These bigger invitationals will provide great training grounds for future team trophies.