Girls Varsity Cross Country · Midland-area runners aim for high finishes at Saturday’s cross country state finals

For the Dow High girls’ cross country team, everything may be coming together at just the right time.

Injured runners Maija Rettelle and Heleyna Tucker are returning to full health just in time for the Division 1 cross country state finals at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Saturday.

The Chargers earned a spot in the finals with a second-place finish in last Saturday’s regional race at Delta College, while several area runners qualified individually with top-15 finishes.

Dow was ranked as high as No. 8 in Division 1 earlier in the season, but has since dropped out of the top 15. Defending champion Birmingham Seaholm is ranked No. 1.

“If we can get between 10th and 15th place (as a team), I’ll be really pleased,” Dow coach Jed Hopfensberger said on Thursday. “We have only one senior, Beth Hoffman, who has been to the state meet, so she knows what it’s like, but the other girls are new to this. … If we can get four girls under 20 minutes, that would be great — that’s my hope.”

Individually, the Chargers have two All-State hopefuls in junior Emily Wall and freshman Anastasia Tucker. Wall’s career-best time of 18:35 is 40th best among the 245 entrants, while Tucker’s 18:58 places her 72nd.

“I know it’s going to be difficult, but it’s going to be possible,” Hopfensberger said of his runners’ chances of making the top 30 to earn All-State honors. “It will be a good experience for them, and we’ll see what happens.”