Niles runner finishes in top half of field at finals

Published 7:16 am Monday, November 8, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Niles' freshman Samantha Brawley said she would have to run the best race of her life to be successful at Saturday's MHSAA Division 2 girls' state cross country finals, and that's exactly what she did.
Brawley's time of 20:40.75 beat her previous best by almost 12 seconds. While she didn't make her goal of finishing in the Top 50, she did finish in the top half of the field, placing 115th of 245 runners.
Edwardsburg senior James Greenfield finished 34th in the Division 3 boys' race with a time of 16:37.25. His teammate Mike Penninger finished 97th with a time of 17:27.00. The Eddies' Angie Bronicki finished 168th in the Division 3 girls' race in a time of 22:05.65.
Though she didn't crack the Top 50, Brawley said she had fun at the finals, held in Brooklyn at Michigan International Speedway.
She said the Speedway's flat course, in which runners ran on the track twice, helped her achieve her personal best time.
Brawley had some backing on Saturday. Niles' girls cross country coach Dan VandenHeede made the trip to Brooklyn, as well as Brawley's teammates Tammy Madison and Megan Flynn. Brawley also had five of her friends come along to offer support.
East Grand Rapids won the girls' Division 2 race, followed by Grand Rapids Christian in second and Dexter in third.
Bekah Smeltzer of Monroe Jefferson won the race in 17:51.40.
The boys' race in Division 2 was won by Dexter, with Freemont and Bloomfield Hills Lahser taking second and third, respectively. Daniel Roberts of Vicksburg was the individual winner in 15:19.05.
In Division 3, Harbor Springs took first in the boys' competition. Grand Rapids West Catholic and Williamston finished second and third, respecitively.
Josh Hafbauer of Harbor Springs won the race in 15:48.10.
In the Division 3 girls' race, Goodrich finished first, followed by Jackson Lumen Christian and Williamston. Janee Jones of Goodrich won the individual title in a time of 18:07.95.
As a freshman, Brawley looks forward to the opportunity to get back to the state finals next year. She said this year's race gave her good experience and something to shoot for next season.