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November 29, 2019
By: John Raffel

Sacred Heart’s girls title reign end



By John Raffel


Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart’s rule as four-time defending state champions has ended. But it was close.

Bridgman had a team score of 132 to edge Sacred Heart at 149 and deny the Irish’s bid for a fifth straight state crown.

Three Sacred Heart runners were All-State with Olivia Ervin 12th (20:01.), Desiree McConnell was 13th (20:09.8) and Riley Hacker 24th (20:35.7).

Ervin had a solid freshman season.

“I think it went pretty well,” she said. “Individually, I was going for top 15 so I was happy with the results. As a team, we did pretty good. We went into it open minded and we competed.”

Ervin isn’t quite sure what the future holds for Sacred Heart.

“I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing,” she said after she ran her final prep race          

Hacker is a sophomore.

“I didn’t think I was going to do as good as I did because this course is not really good for running my best time,” she said; “The key was being strong mentally and not slowing down.”

A second-place team finish, “is still really good,” Hacker said. “At least we made it here. Some don’t even make it to state finals.”

The Sacred Heart girls entered the race realizing it wouldn’t be easy to top Bridgman.

McConnell is the last of the four sisters who helped Sacred Heart enjoy state title success.

“The ending was more muddy than usual,” she said.

McConnell is among the Sacred Heart girls who have the spring track season to look forward to.

Beal City was led by Kaylee Locke in eighth and (19:53.9) and Rachel Weber 10th (19:54.7).

Madison Volz of Lansing Christian (19:30.2) was third and teammate Ashlyn Kephart was 20th (20:25.5).

“It was good, chilly and kind of muddy, but was a good course,” Kephart, a freshman, said. “It’s a lot more people to compete against and more obstacles to go around and overcome the weather and the obstacles the course has.”

She’s been in the 19-minute range and is looking forward to next season.

Saranac’s Madeline Hill was an All-Stater with 27th place (20:38.2).

“I exceeded my expectations,” she said. “The key was mentally and not thinking about it.”

She was a freshman and is looking forward to the next three years.