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Girls Varsity Cross Country · Girls’ CC Regional Title No. 1 Sports Story of 2016-17

Olivetathletics.com is counting down the Top 10 Olivet High School sports stories for 2016-17. Here is No. 1…

The combination of a strong returning core and a talented freshmen class provided the Olivet girls’ cross country team with the ingredients for one of the best seasons in school history last fall.

Not only did the Lady Eagles finish atop the Greater Lansing Activities Conference standings for the first time, they also captured their first regional title in 26 years. In addition, they claimed the heaviest hardware in five regular-season invitationals.

“I could not be more proud of my athletes,” Olivet coach Mike Spoelstra said. “They had this goal in mind from the beginning of the season, actually since the end of (the 2015) season. They believed in themselves, believed in their team, believed they could do it, and then went out and did it.”

Olivet’s last regional crown came in 1990, which is the same year that the locals won a Class C state championship.

This past fall, the Lady Eagles were dominant down the stretch. The filled five of the top 12 spots at the GLAC Championships and five of the top 14 places in the regional.

Olivet went 2-3-4-7-12 at the league meet, good for 28 points – 16 better than second-place Leslie. Olivet freshman Autumn Wietzke continued her late-season dominance, crossing the line second in 20:04. Senior teammates Teona Feldpausch (20:20) and Morgan Greenman (20:22) were not far behind, finishing third and fourth, respectively.

Also scoring for the Lady Eagles were freshman Miranda Barnes, seventh in 20:41; and junior Kaylee Richardson, 12th in 21:17. Olivet junior Hazel Anderson (13th in 21:19) placed ahead of Leslie’s fifth runner as well.

“This league title for the girls was huge,” Olivet coach Mike Spoelstra said. “We have been battling with Leslie the last couple of years, actually missing being co-champs by only three points last season. This was a well-deserved title.”

At the regional, Wietzke was 4th in 20:56, Greenman 6th in 21:05, Feldpausch 7th in 21:16, Barnes 10th in 21:30, and Richardson 14th in 21:54. Anderson finished 16th in 21:57, while Kelsie Letts was 51st in 24:48.

By winning the regional, Olivet qualified for the MHSAA Division 3 Lower Peninsula Finals for the second consecutive year. The Eagles finished a respectable 13th out of 27 teams despite competing without Feldpausch, who was sidelined with a back injury.