Area runners take the field at Foot Locker cross country regional championships

Local Sports JournalKENOSHA, Wisc. — Seven runners from west Michigan high schools ended up participating in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Midwest Regional Saturday in Kenosha, Wisc.

Mason County Central, from the West Michigan Conference, had the two top finishers for the area. Zac Benham, a sophomore, came in 40th with a 16:00-minutes clocking while Chase Barnett placed 72nd in the 13-state regional with a time of 16:17.

Keaton Smith, a junior from Whitehall High School, came in 163rd with a time of 17:53.

On the girls’ side, Kent City’s Ashley Russo placed 130th with a time of 20:07. Cassandra McAllister, a runner from Whitehall, finished 198th with a 21:52 clocking. Grant High School had two participants in Alyssa Blain and Katelyn Rodriguez. Both had times of 27:29 in finishing 255th and 256th, respectively.

The top three finishers on the boys’ side were Grant Fisher, of Grand Blanc, 15:02; Addison Dehaven, of Brookings, S.D., 15:09; and Jesse Reiser, of McHenry, Ill., 15:11. The first 14 runners had times of 15:30 or better and the low 10 were expected to advance to the national meet on Dec. 14.

Top runners for the girls were Kelcy Welch, of Carmel, Ind., who won with a 17:34 time. Stephanie Jenks, of Aurora, Iowa, finished in 17:39 and Rebekah Topham, of Griswold, Iowa, in 17:45. The first nine runners all had times of 17:55 or better, and 14 had times between 18:04 and 18:20.

In the team standings by state, Michigan won the girls’ team championship with 50 points by placing runners, sixth, eighth, 11th, 12th and 13th. Indiana had 75 points for second with Illinois third with 118 points. Wisconsin came in fourth with 119 points, and Iowa fifth with 139 points.

In the boy’s team standings by state, Illinois won with 53 points by placing runners third, sixth, 11th, 13th and 20th. Michigan came in second with 81 points with points from first place, 10th, 19th, 23rd and 28th. Indiana placed third with 97 points while Ohio had 118 for fourth and Wisconsin 132 for fifth.

The Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals will be on Dec. 14 in Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif.

The national championship meet will feature the top qualifiers from the Midwest, Southeast, South and West regionals. The Southeast and South regionals also were on Nov. 30 while the West regional will be on Dec. 7.

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