Allendale – Kent City’s girls cross country team has been looking up at Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the state rankings for much of the season.
However, when the teams faced off during the season, the Eagles typically came out on top.
They went head-to-head again Saturday in the Division 3 regional and Kent City came out on top 50-63 over the Chargers.
The regional champion Eagles will be heading into the state finals next week at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
It’s the fourth year in a row that Kent City has qualified for state and did it on Coach Jill Evers birthday.
“We said we weren’t going to race any differently than normal,” Evers said. “We were just going to do our normal race plan, which is to run well and run fast.
“Just try to keep everything the same. Most of the time there’s not anything too special. We’re going to give our best and we’re grateful that we were able to do so well.
Kent City freshman Lila Volkers finished second in a time of 18:47.71. Also finishing in the top 10 for the Eagles were senior Alyeska Linsley with a time of 19:59.01 and senior Kierra Flegel was ninth in 20:05.97.
North Muskegon senior Gabriella Wingard was 10th in 20:06.53.
“We’re pretty excited how strong of a team we have right now for the girls,” Evers said. “It was close and we didn’t know for sure we had one. So, it was pretty exciting once we found out.
‘It’s not like a game where you see the score on the scoreboard,” she said. “Otherwise it was a very exciting day. They’re a nice, close team physically on the course and also in life. It’s really nice that they’ve bonded so well. It makes it easier to work hard for one another.”
Grandville Calvin Christian was the third team to qualify for state. Stanton Central Montcalm followed by Saranac. Montague finished seven and Ravenna ninth among other area schools at the meet.
The Kent City boys team came in fifth behind Grandville Calvin Christian, Grand Rapids Covenant Christian, Saranac and Holland Black River. North Muskegon was sixth, Montague seventh and Ravenna was ninth among area teams at the meet.
Kent City sophomore Samuel Martini was the regional champion, turning in a time of 16:30.00.
In addition to Martini, the Eagles also qualified Jaren Vogel, another sophomore, for the state final.
North Muskegon junior Jude Meldrum-Roy was 10th in 17:24.69.