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The top Macomb County finisher at the MAC Red Division girls' meet was Dakota's Marah Pugh, who finished third. (The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON)

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CROSS COUNTRY: Chippewa Valley short-handed but wins MAC White meet

Warren Woods-Tower repeats in girls Gold race

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There was no safety in numbers for Chippewa Valley's girls cross country team during Saturday's Macomb Area Conference White Division meet at Lake St. Clair Metropark, but that didn't seem to bother the Big Reds.

"We had only five runners," said senior Natalie Cizmas. "If anybody had dropped out or got injured, we would have been disqualified. Everybody really mattered today."

The White Division race was one of the closest with only 11 points separating the first four teams. Chippewa Valley had 63 points, Ford 68, St. Clair 69 and Warren-Mott, which was missing a top runner, was fourth with 74.

The Big Reds won last year's division meet, but they left feeling that the glass was only half full.

"We wanted to win this and the dual meets," Cizmas said. "Last year we were second in dual meets and this year we wanted to take both championships. We won both jamborees and we just wanted to do what we were capable of. We've had a lot of injuries this year, so winning this means a lot."

Big Reds coach Frank Tymrak said that winning last year's division meet provided an impetus for this season.

"We finished last year by winning this meet and we used that as a springboard," he said. "The girls worked hard in the summer. It's a small group and we'd like to increase it for next year."

Tymrak wasn't surprised that Chippewa Valley was able to repeat in the White.

"We felt we'd be very competitive this year in the White," he said. "Like every team, we had some ups and downs but the girls competed when it was time. Today was close but the girls came through.

"I'm really happy for the seniors. Natalie Cizmas led us in practices and in our meets. Rachel Walny, who has been injured, got an opportunity to taste victory. Marissa Camilleri scored for us all year."

The Big Reds were led by Madeline Wesley, who was second in the division to Port Huron's Rachel Bonner.

"When Madeline saw today's weather she was excited," Tymrak said. "She loves to run in the rain and cold and she was first for our team today.

Warren Woods-Tower has been making a habit of winning the Gold Division meets.

"This is our fourth straight," said coach Dan Simeck. "We did it without Ashley Harger, who was hurt and didn't run. Every girl except our first ran her best time and our first (Lindy Pastrick) ran a 20:09 after running 20:08 last year.

"They ran their best in this kind of weather. It's a hard-working group."

WWT also went undefeated in the MAC Gold dual meets. In the division meet the Titans had 23 points to 50 for second-place Lake Shore.

The top individual in the Gold was Clawson freshman Katlyn Pizzo, who ran a 19:11. Center Line's Haley Boccomino also broke the 20-minute barrier.

Grosse Pointe South won easily in the Red Division, finishing with 26 points to 85 for second-place Stevenson

"We had three real strong runners graduate last year, but we've had a few girls really step up this year to some quality performance levels," said Blue Devils coach Steve Zaranek. "We're traditionally a very deep team and this year is no exception."

South had three of the top four runners in the Red Division, led by overall winner Ersula Farrow, who covered the Lake St. Clair Metropark course in 17:39.

"Ersula loves to take charge in a race," Zaranek said. "She's more of a track runner like the Meier girls were. She has one of the fastest half-mile times in the country but she loves running cross country.

"Her style is to get out and establish herself early. She enjoys that and feels good with it."

The only runner to break the Blue Devils' domination at the top of the MAC Red was Dakota's Marah Pugh, who set a varsity record with her third-place time of 18:18.

Marine City, which was undefeated in dual meets, edged Marysville 41-47 for the MAC Blue division championship.

Lakeview, which was third with 58 points, had the top individual in the division with sophomore Danielle Uppleger posting a time of 20:17.

Last Updated: 10/21/2013 7:54:01 PM EST