The Fenton Varsity Girls Cross Country team knew it would have a stiff challenge to win a 4th straight Metro League Jamboree, the first of the 2017 season, at Goodrich MS on Wednesday. The Lady Tigers returned 3 of their top 4 runners from the 2016 squad that swept the three 2017 Metro League meets, and those 3 front-runners did more than enough to help the Tigers secure the 1st League contest of the 2017 season with 50 points, 11 less than 2nd-place rival Flushing.
The 3 “low-sticks” for Fenton, Sophomore Alexa Keiser and Juniors Cami Tiemann and Abbey Lee, placed 1st, 3rd, and 8th, respectively, each securing points in the 1st-team all-league places, which will count 25% towards their final league position. Their 12 combined points gave them an early 14 point advantage over the top 3 runners from their close rival, Flushing, a deficit that proved too great to overcome even with Flushing’s strong 4th and 5th runners.
Freshman Kaitlin Bayer put the Tigers even further ahead with an extremely strong race that saw her pick up 5 runners, including 3 from Flushing, over the second half of her 5k race. Bayer finished 14th in a strong Metro Field, her 21:02 finishing time barely edging Flushing’s 3rd runner to the line. The finish continued her progression of improving times by taking another half-minute off her season’s best in a clutch race for the Tigers.
Freshman Coral Lefever also ran a strong last mile to round out the scoring places and secure the victory for the Tigers, finishing 24th in 22:00. Fenton’s 6th runner, Sophomore Avery Logan, was next over the line, finishing 25th in 22:13. Teams were allowed 10 varsity runners in this first of jamborees, and the Tigers saw strong depth in those places. Freshman Chloe Lefever, Junior Hanna Chapin, Sophomore Jessica Adams, and Sophomore Brooke Thomas finished in 30th, 31st, 37th, and 42nd to finish off a strong Tigers team effort.
Keiser’s victory mirrored the team’s streak in that it was her 4th straight Metro League Jamboree win. She encountered some early pressure from Holly’s impressive freshman, Andrea Ruiz, before pulling away midway through the 2nd mile to win by 43 seconds, in a season-best time of 18:35. It was Keiser’s 3rd-straight victory of over 40 seconds in the still-young 2017 season.
Tiemann and teammate Lee narrowly avoided disaster after a wrong turn at the final turn for home, about 160 meters out from the finish. Both recovered ably though, Tiemann blowing by the group of runners that moved past her following the navigational mistake and reclaiming 3rd place in a season best 19:48, and Lee still finishing strong to break 20 minutes for 5k for the first time and finish in the 1st-team places in a time of 19:56.
The Tigers’ team win puts them at the top of the Metro standings, with their initial win counting 25% towards the final rankings. The next Metro Jamboree, also worth 25% of the season total, will be Wednesday September 27th at Flushing Valley Golf Course. The championship Meet, worth 50% of the final rankings, will be held at Linden Middle School on Wednesday October 18th. The Lady Tigers will be looking for their second straight outright Metro League XC title, which would be the second in their history and 3rd overall.