Crossroads runners look back at state meet performances

Jaylen Strickland and Emily Chitwood (2109) represented Crossroads at the state cross country meet on Saturday. (Pioneer photos/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — Crossroads cross country coach Cheryl Wright had two talented runners perform in Saturday’s Division 4 meet at the Michigan International Speedway.

The good news for Wright is both girls are juniors and will be returning for their senior seasons next year.

Emily Chitwood and Jaylen Schroeder both qualified from the regionals for the state meet. Chitwood was 67th at the Michigan International Speedway in 21:46.4 while Schroeder was 69th in 21:47.8.

Schroeder noted in an interview earlier this week of the challenge of the wet and soggy course and had been hoping to do better. But she’s looking forward to her senior year. Her season record was 20:51.4 at the Portage Invitational. She also had a first place at one West Michigan D League jamboree and second places at two other jamborees. She was third in the league championship.

Schroeder ran in the state meet as a freshman and was 80th. Her personal record came that season with a 20:08.6. As a sophomore, she was 49th at the state meet with a clocking of 20:42.0.

“Jaylen has pretty much been leader for our team throughout this season and past seasons as well,” Wright said. “She’s done well all season. She did not do as well at state as she wanted. But she still ran a strong race. She sets the example for everyone else. She’s the leader of the pack.”

Chitwood came on strong late in the year. She had a personal record of 21:10.2 at the regional. This was her first season of Crossroads cross country.

“She came out and we were impressed, she was running some good times,” Wright said. “At the Portage meet in early October her personal record started coming down, and she did well at the state meet considering the course was wet and slippery at some places. It was a fantastic first season for her.”

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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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