Chippewa Hills runners eye another title

REMUS — Chippewa Hills girls cross country team is bidding for another strong season this fall.

The girls were CSAA Gold division champions and qualified for the MHSAA state finals as a team placing third at regionals. Hannah Todd, Dezi Shaw and Natalie Newcombe were all-region.

“Those three as well as Madison Grover and Hannah Fiorillo were all-conference,” coach Zach Hatfield said.

For the boys, Austin Mathis was all-region as well as all-conference with Andrew Ashbaugh. The Warrior boys finished third in the CSAA.

All girl runners are back. For the boys, “Andrew Ashbaugh graduated and he was a prime example of hard work and dedication in the sport,” Hatfield said. “He was always positive driven to improve.”

Todd and Fiorillo are seniors, Shaw and Madison Grover are juniors and Natalie Newcombe is a sophomore. “All have had good summers and return from the top 5 of 2016,” Hatfield said. “I look forward to seeing them build more in August and September to run quality times in October and November.

For the boys, “Austin Mathis returns from a solid junior year and has had a good summer as well,” Hatfield said. “I expect him to run his best at the end of the season.

“The girls have set high goals for themselves and I expect them to work hard every day to reach them. For the boys, we have several underclassmen that will compete for spots in our top seven.”

The strength for the girls “is their hard work and close knit friendships together,” Hatfield said. “The boys team has a good lead by example runner in Austin and can learn from his competitiveness.”

For the girls “there are several upper and underclassmen that are pushing to be in the top 7. Finding who that will be is a work in progress,” Hatfield said, adding for the boys, “outside of Austin this team is young and needs to build as the season goes on.”

The season opens on Aug. 22 at Chippewa Hills in a nonleague invitational.

“The CSAA for both genders has quality teams and runners,” Hatfield said. “Fremont and Big Rapids are always quality competition as well as Grant and Tri County. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens in 2017.”

Chippewa Hills runners get ready for a practice run.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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