Clinton cross country CIC Conference Champions

Special to the Clinton Journal
Posted 10/19/21

Clinton cross country CIC Conference Champions

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Clinton cross country CIC Conference Champions


CLINTON — It was a loaded, but small, conference field in the CIC Confernce meet, with two state-ranked teams on the girls side, Shelbyville #22 and Clinton #23, and three state-ranked teams on the boys side, #11 #18 and #20 from St. T, Shelbyville and Tuscola respectively.

The conditions weren’t exactly ideal with a challenging and muddy course but Clinton’s athletes “had the best attitudes and outlooks,” said athletic director Matt Koeppel. “I’m pretty sure I even heard Clare Holland say, on the starting line, ‘I HOPE it rains’,” Koeppel said.

The girls started out strong from the gun. It was obvious they were there to compete. Koeppel said they told the girls since the beginning of the season that they were capable of making Clinton history by accomplishing things that haven’t been done in so long.

He was right.  They secured the conference championship for the first time since 1994 for Clinton girls cross country.  “The big three led the race from wire to wire,” Koeppel said.

Lexi Lord was the conference champion in a lifetime best 19:42. She is now the seventh girl in Clinton history to break the 20-minute mark and is tied with the #4 all-time best time in Clinton’s history

Clare Holland was 2nd overall all-conference in a course PR 20:15 (previously 20:43). Koeppel said they looked up her conference results over the past four years and it is the best progression, from 15th her freshman year, to 11th her sophomore year, 8th her junior year, “and now second.”

MaKayla Koeppel was 3rd overall all-conference in a course PR 20:38 (previously 20:50), she was 4th last year.

Amerie Hemphill was 10th overall all-conference in a lifetime best and course PR 21:45 (previous lifetime best 22:12 and course PR 22:43). In the last 400m of the race, Amerie was sitting in 11th, just outside all-conference designation. Number 10 was still about 35m in front of her, but Amerie “turned on the rockets and ended top 10 all-conference as a freshman,” Koeppel said. For her performance she was the peer-elected Athlete of the Meet.

Chloe Barth was 13th overall in 22:50 in a course PR (previously 23:08), Jessie Wertz, 14th overall in 23:10, Alexa Harris, 16th overall in 23:34 in a course PR (previously 23:51), Missy Hale, 23:47 course PR (previously 23:50) She ran a new lifetime best for a mile of 6:55.

“We talked a lot about not letting anyone pass you in the final 400m, even a teammate,” Koeppel said.  “And we had a crazy finish from these three young ladies: Lydia Cahill in 24:35.24, Addie Kortiz in 24:35.54 and Autumn Brinkoetter in 24:35.89, and a huge course PR from Autumn, was previously 28:56.

Maddi Leonard had a lifetime best, previously was 28:32.  “She slayed that yesterday, running 24:55.”

“The boys did such a phenomenal job cheering on the girls during their race,” Koeppel said.   “And we could tell how proud they were of their teammates. The boys truly gave it everything they had and finished 4th overall as a team.”

Drew Moser was 7th place overall, all-conference in a lifetime best and course PR 17:15 (previously 17:21), Aidan Shanks, 16th overall, course PR 18:23 (previously 19:12), Jade Carlos Gustafson, 18th overall, course PR 18:27 (previously 18:43), Talan Thrasher, 22nd overall, course PR and lifetime best 18:49 (previously 19:12) - “Talan beat every mile pace goal we had for him yesterday,” Koeppel said.  “He raced strong through the finish - even with a 100m sprinter like Lean at the end.”

Preston Daniels was 23rd overall, course PR and lifetime best 19:27 (previously 19:44), Trevor Willis, 24th overall in 19:35, and Colin Jameson, 30th overall in 20:50, a course PR and lifetime best (previously was 21:17).