BROOKLYN — The Saline girls' cross country team just missed its second state championship in three years.
Freshman Abby Rentschler (23rd, 18:42.4), freshman Lauren Green (25thth, 18:44.8) and senior Amy Creutz (30th, 18:51.8) made the all-state team as the Hornets finished with 111 points, just five more than state champion Grosse Point South in the MHSAA Division 1 Final at Michigan International Speedway. Sophomore Elianna Shwayder (33rd, 18:57.2) just missed the all-state team. Sophomore Gloria Park (47th, 19:05.4) also finished in the scoring for the Hornets. Junior Alyssa Cummings (61st, 19:18) and senior Amy Frauhammer (78th, 19:28.2).
Despite the fact that Grosse Point South placed four runners before the Hornets placed their first, Saline nearly pulled it out.
It was a tough loss for the Hornets, who have topped the state rankings for weeks and who'd beaten Grosse Point South in two earlier meets. Losing by such a slim margin doesn't really make it easier, said coach Mike Smith.
"In some ways, you'd rather lose by 20 points so you don't think about how close you came," Smith said.
Saline had Grosse Point's number this season until Saturday's race.
"We'd beaten them before. They were strong up front then. But their fifth place girl moved up enough to make a difference," Smith said. "in a race this big, five points isn't very much. But our kids ran the best they've been all year. Normally, when you're down around a hundred points, you almost always win."
While acknowledging the loss, Smith stressed that the team had nothing to be disappointed about.
"You can't be dissatisfied with second in the state," Smith said. "We did a great job.
Perhaps the surprise of the day was Rentschler, who beat her personal record by 30 seconds and was the fastest Hornet of the day. Green also broke the 19-minute barrier for the first time in her career.
Creutz, running in her final race as a Hornet, broke the 19-minute barrier for the first time this season and took the final spot on the podium.
"It's a fitting conclusion to her career," Smith said.
Shwayder, the regional champion, struggled early in the race but battled hard to helps keep the pack tight. She broke the 19-minute barrier for the third time this season. Park also ran her best time of the season for the Hornets.