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Beal City girls win second state title in as many years WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • The Beal City girls cross country program won its second D4 state title in as many years Saturday at MIS. (Sun File Photos)
  • The Beal City girls cross country program won its second D4 state title in as many years Saturday at MIS. (Sun File Photos)
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BROOKLYN – They entered the day as defending state champions and did exactly that.

On Saturday morning from Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn the Beal City girls cross country team successfully defended its Division 4 state title by winning its second state championship in as many years.

The Aggies finished atop the 27-team field with 94 points and beat a favored Kalamazoo Hackett team by 14 points. Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart also landed third with 130 points while Breckenridge was seventh with 252 and Montabella was 15th with 426 points.

The state title is the second in program history for the Lady Aggies.

“We knew we had a chance because we have the best returning Division 4 team in the state,” said Beal City head coach Dave King. “But then (Kalamazoo) Hackett dropped down from Division 3 and they have been the favorite all season. Our girls just ran the best race they could have run and had the best team time in program history.”

The sister tandem of Emily and Hannah Steffke led the way as they both earned All-State honors via top-30 finishes. Emily Steffke earned All-State honors for a fourth straight year as she finished fifth Saturday in 19:15. She finished 30th in 2013, 18th in 2012 and 26th in 2011 in the finals.

Junior Hannah Steffke landed sixth Saturday in 19:26 to locked up All-State honors for a third straight year. She finished 10th last year and eighth in 2012.

Senior Hayley Neyer also garnered All-State honors as she was 27th in 20:17.6. One year ago her older sister Hannah Neyer ran the best race of her career in her final go-around to earn All-State honors and Hayley did the same Saturday as she had a career PR.

Madeline Steffke was 41st in 20:40.6 with Ariel Salter 55th in 20:55.4. Brenda Faber was 93rd in 21:41.1 with Rachel Schwerin 212th in 24:36.2.

Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart’s Alexis McConnell was second overall to earn All-State honors for a second straight year as she finished in 18:58.1. She was 15th in the finals as a freshman last year.

SHA freshman Bailey McConnell, the younger sister of Alexis, also earned All-State accolades as she was 13th in 19:47.8. Fellow SHA freshman Rowan Fitzpatrick landed 26th in 20:16 to nail down All-State honors as well.

Megan Nowak was 74th in 21:16.4 with Liz Ervin 77th in 21:18, Skylar Nelson 138th in 22:32 and Megan English 185th in 23:18.9.

Breckenridge freshman Chloe Brittain also earned All-State honors as she was 18th in 20:01.4. Rachel Reiber was 54th in 20:54.8 with Ellen Laurenz 99th in 21:46.7 and Carly Jenkins 102nd in 21:48.5. Ayanna Williams was also 113th in 21:58.3.

Kensington Garvey led Montabella in 45th in 20:43.4 with Kim Buskirk 92nd in 21:39.3 and Brynn Lobert 159th in 22:54.7. Alyvia Karcher was 167th in 23:03.1 with Autumn Kindred 168th in 23:03.1.

Last Updated: 11/2/2014 1:32:07 AM EST