The Fenton Girls Cross Country team accomplished something no other edition in Fenton history has: they won the Regional Championship Saturday, at Hess-Hathaway Park in Waterford. The girls booked their second-straight berth in the state finals next week at Michigan International Speedway, their 3rd-ever trip and 2nd at the Division 1 level. The Lady Tigers total of 63 points was easily their lowest ever in Regional Competition, and bested 2016 and perennial regional power Milford’s total by 4 points.
The Tigers were led by Junior Alexa Keiser, as they have been for 3 years. She completed the undulating course at HH Park in 18:49.3, which put her 7th over the line, after passing 2 runners in the last 800 meters of the course. Senior Cami Tiemann completed a Regional career with a perfect 4 out of 4 placings each year in the individual qualification positions, as she finished 13th in 19:50.3, following up her top 15 showings from 2015, 2016, and 2017. Kaitlin Bayer made it 3 Tigers in the individual qualifying spots, as she took 14th in 19:55.3. Both Tiemann and Bayer out-kicked Milford’s 3rd runner over the last 200 meters of the course, which would prove crucial in the final standings. Senior Abbey Lee was next across, claiming 16th place in 19:56.0, and making her the first 4th runner across the line from any team.
But race of the day easily belonged to Junior Jessica Adams, who provided the all-important 5th runner’s score in the team standings, in a 17th place showing in 20:07.5. Adams ran a personal record of a whopping 23 seconds on a challenging course that includes 70 feet of vertical gain a mile. The times reflected the challenging terrain, as, amongst the top 22 finishers, only Adams and two other runners were able to set PRs. Adams easily improved the most in this group, her 23 second improvement underscoring her breakthrough performance that allowed Fenton to earn the historic win.
Freshman Emily Grob further padded the lead, as her 6th runner status did not contribute to Fenton’s score total, but her out-kicking of Milford’s 5th and final scorer displaced the Maverick’s own score by another point. Grob continued her fine freshman campaign with an impressive 20:21.2 time that earned her 21st place on the day. Senior Hanna Chapin chipped in as the field’s strongest 7th runner, and in fact, finished before any other team’s 6th runner, taking 27th in a time of 20:37.0, running a personal record herself.
The Fenton Girls XC team earned their first-ever Regional title, in any division. The championship marked the 4th regional-win between the girls and guys, and 2nd ever Division 1 title. The win marks the culmination of years of steady improvement from the program, following an 8th place showing in 2014, 5th in 2015, 4th in 2016, and 3rd and a state-final qualification in 2017.
The Girls XC squad finishes out their season Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn Michigan. The harriers were the 2nd smallest school in terms of enrollment in the 27-team field that contested last year’s finals, and will likely be on the smaller end again this year. Despite that, the Lady Tigers will look to improve on their 21st place seeding based on season-best times, and perhaps the more realistic 15th place projection if they run those times at MIS Saturday, a realistic proposition given the challenging nature of most of the courses in Fenton’s Season. The girls Division 1 race will start at 3:30 pm, and will be the final race of the entire day of championships.