Niles girls seeing hard work paying off

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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BERRIEN SPRINGS — The hard work and dedication that the Niles girls cross country team showed during the offseason and in the early stages of the 2023 campaign is paying off.

The Vikings finished third behind state powerhouse Otsego and former SMAC West Division rival Lakeshore at the Shamrock Invitational at the Berrien Country Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon.

Runners battled temperatures in the 90s and high humidity as well as each other at the annual cross country invitational.

The Bulldogs took home the team title as they scored 20 points to easily outdistance the runner-up Lancers, who finished with 53 points. The Vikings finished with 80 points. Edwardsburg was fifth with 126 points, while Dowagiac had just one runner and did not post a team score.

Otsego’s Emma Hoffman was the overall winner as she posted a time of 19:12.

Charlie Drew led Niles with a sixth-place finish and a time of 20:59. Aubrey Jackson finished 10th overall with a time of 21:36.

“We ran in the Shamrock Invite last night,” said Niles Coach Jami Roden. “Overall, I am excited about how well our girls team performed last night. Our goal as a team going into the meet was to place in the top three and we did just that. We took third overall behind Otsego and Lakeshore.”

Despite the weather conditions, Niles had all but two of its runners sets personal bests.

“They keep improving each meet and are beginning to gel as a team,” Roden said. “Charlie Drew and Aubrey Jackson once again led the team. Both these girls are determined to make it to state and continue to push each other and work hard in practice.”

Dowagiac’s Jocelyn Kiner ran a time of 28:25.

Otsego also won the boy’s championship as it finished with 48 points.

Edwardsburg finished third with 101 points, while Niles was fifth with 125 points. Dowagiac finished ninth with 205 points.

Coloma’s Boden Genovese was the individual champion as he ran a time of 16:09.

The Vikings’ Aiden Krueger finished third overall with a time of 16:32, the Chieftains’ Owen Saylor was right behind him in fourth with a time of 16:52 and Edwardsburg’s Dane Bailey one spot behind Saylor in fifth with a time of 16:48.

For more results from the Shamrock Invitational, click here.