No team has dominated girl's cross
country more over recent years than Rockford. And this
great distance running community has produced some of
the best distance runners in our state's history. Over
the past half decade, no other girl's team has come close
to the success that Rockford has enjoyed both on the state
and national levels.
this year's victory wasn't an overpowering one as in year's
past, Rockford had enough strength up front to pull out
by sophomore Nikki Bohnsack who claimed the individual
state title in a time of 17:40 on the 5K MIS course, Rockford
rolled to a fourth straight Division 1 (Class A) team
state championship with a total of 76 points. This could
have even been five in a row, as Rockford finished as
the 1997 state runners-up to Ann Arbor Pioneer.
looked very strong early, with six runners in the top
20 just past the mile mark. Sterling Heights Stevenson,
the 1996 state champs, also looked good, but just weren't
strong enough to upset the three time defending champions.
Heights Stevenson ended up as D-1 team runners-up with
121 points and Ann Arbor Pioneer, state champs in 1997,
came in third with 136.
addition to Bohnsack, Rockford had two other runners in
the top ten as Kelsey Toedebusch placed sixth in 18:52
and Kristi Powers finished 7th with a time of 18:56. The
remaining top 5 for Rockford consisted of Michelle Harrold,
(27th place) and Brittinie Ogden (45th place).
year's race for the individual D-1 state title was a much
anticipated one. For most of the year, the state's two
top girls cross country runners were Bohnsack of Rockford
and Shannon Stanley of Rochester Adams.
had run similar times and had traded off victories in
head to head competition. Stanley, who took second place
overall at the 2000 finals, was looking to continue the
individual streak of Adams individual state champions.
Katie Boyles of Adams had won the individual D-1 title
for an amazing four straight years.
the Bohnsack-Stanley battle was expected to be a great
one, this race belonged completely to the Rockford sophomore.
Bohnsack took the early lead in this year's D-1 race,
coming through the mile mark in 5:43 with Elisa Zemlick
of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix right on her heels. Stanley was
just over two seconds back at this point. At the two mile
had opened up a substantial eleven second lead over Stanley
and 20 second lead over Zemlick. By the three milemark,
lead had grown to a full 25 seconds. By this point, the
outcome was not doubt as Bohnsack flew through the finish
in an impressive 17:40. Stanley ended up second in 18:08
with Zemlick third in 18:16. Katie Danyko of runner up
Stevenson moved up for fourth place in 18:27 and Romeo
senior Teresa Bongiovanni finished off a great high school
cross country career with a fifth place finish in 18:45.
Bohnsack and Stanley were more than pleased with their
seasons and with their finishes here at the state meet.
And both knew it was going to be a tough race. "It's very
exciting. I just hope my team does well," Bohnsack commented
soon after her victory. "I know that Stanley has a fast
kick, so I had to pick it up that second mile and try
to get a gap on her," she said soon after her race. "Otherwise,
I would have no chance on that final straightaway."
Stanley, the Rochester Adams junior, this ended another
exciting season for her. Though this one was a bit different
for her than last year. In 2000 no one expected her to
do what she did, coming out of practically nowhere to
take second overall to teammate Boyles. Stanley
talked about that difference from last year to this year.
was a lot more pressure for most of the season," she said.
Stanley would have loved to have taken home a state title,
but knew that either way she would be involved in a great
race. "I felt great for this race. My
time was good, so I'm pretty happy."
Bohnsack and Stanly will be back to fight it out again
2002. Rockford's girls team meanwhile will come back and
attempt what only one other school has even done in Michigan
high school cross country, a fifth straight team title.
schools have won four straight, but only the Charlevoix
boys team won five straight, taking the class c title