Chippewa Hills senior set for cross country season

Natalie Newcombe (far right) reads a list of upcoming cross country events last week prior to a Chippewa Hills summer run. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

REMUS — It’s Natalie Newcombe’s fourth and final season coming up as a Chippewa Hills runner, and the Warrior senior is anxious to get started.

“She’s had a great summer and has worked very hard,” Newcombe’s cross country coach Zach Hatfield said. “We’re excited to see how she’ll do this year. She had a great track season.”

Newcombe had an impressive cross country debut as a freshman. In 2016, she placed 15th in the regional and placed 134th at the state meet. She didn’t go to state as a sophomore but qualified as a junior when she placed eighth in the regional with a personal record of 19:22.7.

“Right now my goal is to get around 400 miles (during the summer),” she said during a workout last week. “Mondays we’ve met in Mecosta to run and Wednesday’s we’ve been at our home course (across M-66 from the high school). It’s a lot more fun doing these. The miles seems to go by quicker when you have people to run with.”

Newcombe has been active every year in summer running and it’s paid off in her performances.

“Last year, I qualified for state and was all-conference,” she said. “I was happy about that. I finished 36th at the state meet and just missed out on all-state. I definitely this year want to shoot for all-state and break 19 minutes. It will take a lot of mental strength and work. Hopefully that pays off.

“I try to start off strong so I’m not too far off the pack. Then I kind of flow into it and go from there.”

Practices begin on Monday. The early-season Chippewa Hills Invitational is on Aug. 20.

“We had quite a few seniors that graduated,” Newcombe said. “We have a lot of freshmen coming up and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.”

 

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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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