Vicksburg's Gabrielle Perrin enjoying cross country success in her freshman year
Provided by Anthony Smigiel | Kalamazoo Gazette
VICKSBURG — Gabrielle Perrin didn’t know what to expect during her freshman season of cross country.
But the Vicksburg runner qualified for Saturday’s MHSAA state finals by doing what she loves most.
“I love the adrenaline rush, and just like how the competition is in the races and how accomplished you feel when you’re done,” she said. “It’s the best feeling after a race to know you got a (personal best) or high place, because that helps you to push harder for the next race.”
Perrin has had an impressive season, winning the Wolverine Conference and finishing third in the Division 2 regional at Portage West Middle School.
She broke the 19-minute mark — a goal throughout the season — with a 18:52 last weekend. It was a big improvement from the 22:13 she posted on the same course in the Greater Kalamazoo race early in the season, when she finished 10th.
“To actually do it on that course at regionals was awesome,” she said. “It’s amazing coming in as a freshman and being up so far. I just can’t believe it.”
Perrin ran plenty of miles in the summer to prepare for her first year on varsity.
“Running is, basically, my life,” she said. “I love being with my team and being able to run every day, because I love to run. I came into a good team, so I just wanted to be up there.”
Perrin and her coach, Susan Oesterle, said they expected big things, but even they didn’t imagine her achieving this level of success so soon.
“We had talked about the potential she had to be up there, but we didn’t expect her to be this high,” Oesterle said. “I think she’s surprised even herself a little bit with how high she has been finishing.”
Perrin said the competition at the high school level has helped push her to work harder. Oesterle said Perrin has shown dedication to her training program and learning the finer points of running cross country, such as consistent pacing and improving her first-mile time.
“She puts a game plan together and she’ll run her game plan,” Oesterle said. “It’s a rarity for a freshman to know exactly how they want to run a race to the extent that she does.”
Perrin said she hopes to keep up with the fast start at the state finals and finish in the top 30 to earn all-state honors.
Girls state qualifiers
PORTAGE NORTHERN: Savina Malinverno (So.)
PORTAGE CENTRAL: Ally Peirce (So.)
MATTAWAN: Alaina Smith (Fr.)
GULL LAKE: Hayley Buckhout (Fr.), Mikayla Hostetler (Fr.), Leah Coonrod (Jr.), Ashley Merica (Sr.) and Sierra Coay (So.)
PLAINWELL: Makenzie Evers (So.), Haley Betts (Fr.), Chloe Thiel (Sr.), Oriana Benincasa (So.) and Cara Minto (Jr.)
VICKSBURG: Gabrielle Perrin (Fr.)
SOUTH HAVEN: Grace Carver (Sr.) and Grace Katt (So.)
ALLEGAN: Jessica Shaw (Jr.)
PAW PAW: Kayla DePierre (Jr.)
DELTON KELLOGG: Jolene Drum (Sr.), Christi Boze (Jr.), Brianna Russell (Jr.), Marcie Stevens (So.) and Sarah Rendon (So.)
PARCHMENT: Kate Thayer (So.), Laura Nordquist (Sr.), Taylor Hillard (Fr.), Paige Berg (Fr.) and Molly Ireland (So.)
SCHOOLCRAFT: Madeline Hartlieb (Sr.), Sarah Hartlieb (Sr.), Elizabeth Lenning (Sr.), Colleen Flynn (Fr.) and Megan Lawrence (Jr.)
HARTFORD: Sarah Melton (Jr.)
BLOOMINGDALE: Heather Irish (So.)
HACKETT CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Lucy Ankenbauer (Fr.), Elena Ochoa (So.), Robin DeClercq (Fr.), Anne Heidelberg (Fr.) and Vanesa Ochoa (Sr.)
CENTREVILLE: Autumn Odom (Sr.), Shania McLain (Sr.), Marissa Mohney (Fr.), Abby McClain (So.), Bethany Riess (Sr.)
LAWTON: Lauren Cody (Sr.), Lindsey Dopheide (Jr.), Carley Lott (Fr.), Maddeline Beach (Sr.), Mallory Keene (Jr.)
GOBLES: Nicole Lauhon (Jr.)
KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN: Kate McLain (So.)
MENDON: Lauren Samson (So.) and Grace Leighton (So.)
COLON: Skyler Harvey (So.)