CARSON CITY — Three Carson City-Crystal cross country runners took advantage of running on their home course to qualify for the Division 3 state finals.
On Saturday at the Fish Creek Sportsman’s, junior Tyler Craig, junior Elizabeth McCrackin and sophomore Kaitlyn Beyer each ran well enough to earn one more race this season for the Eagles.
As teams, the girls placed eighth and the boys ninth out of 16 teams. The girls earned 200 points, while the boys finished with 218 points.
Placing among the boys top three to qualify for the team state finals was Lansing Catholic Central (74 points), Ithaca (83) and Hemlock (88). For the girls, Lansing Catholic Central (55), Bath (84) and Shepherd (91) qualified for the finals.
“We wanted to finish in the top half of the region and we accomplished that,” Eagles coach Grant Woodman said. “Kolton Kavanagh and Jeremy Bigford both set career bests. Tyler Craig was only a few seconds off his and he made it to state.”
Leading the boys times was Craig with 17:07, which was good for eighth overall and a spot in the individual finals for the first time.
The time was a course best for Craig, but not a personal best (16:54). Craig was expecting to qualify, but said it wasn’t easy.
“I was looking at the standings ahead of time and I felt I had a good chance to make it,” Craig said. “It was hard. Harder than I thought it would be. I just kept going.”
Craig is looking to reach a PR when he runs again on Saturday.
“My teammates have qualified in previous years and I’m just really excited to keep it going,” Craig said. “I’m hoping for a personal record at the state final. I want 16:53 or below.”
Other times for CC-Crystal were Kolton Davangh (17:50), Jeremy Bigford (18:19), Caleb Geselman (19:29), Thomas Vargas (20:35) and Eric Campbell (21:06).
Keenan Rebera of Lansing Catholic was first overall with 15:59.
Leading the girls for the Eagles was Beyer with a personal record of 19:10. She beat her previous best by 12 seconds.
“Going to state is really exciting. My goal going in was to be in the top five. My goal coming into the season was to reach 18:59,” Beyer said. “I knew the girls I could run with and the girls I was really close with, so I kept kept that in my head all week and focused on this race.”
Breaking under 19 minutes is Beyer’s goal, on what she said is a fast course at the state finals.
“I want to hit 18:59,” Beyer said. “I just want to have a better race than I did last year. It is a fast course and a good course.”
McCrackin set a season high with 20:20 on Saturday, topping it by six seconds. Her personal record is 20:06.
“It went pretty good, but I was scared I wasn’t going to make it,” McCrackin said. “I was kind of far behind. I got some energy back in the woods.”
McCrackin’s goal is simple for the state finals.
“I want to be under 20 minutes and be an all-stater,” McCrackin said.
Other girls times were Gabrielle Hummel (22:08), Taylor Ward (22:16), Lindsay McClintic (24:32), Adeline Hummel (26:07) and Clarie Hubbell (26:08).
“They went out like we thought they would,” Woodman said of the girls team. “We had lifetime bests from four of our seven runners. The others were close.”
First overall for the girls was Raquel Serna of St. Louis in 18:21.
The state finals take place at Michigan International Speedway (see box for times) on Saturday.