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February 13, 2013

Four of South’s runners sign with college programs

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Grosse Pointe South track and cross country runner Christina Firl, pictured with coach Steve Zaranek, signed on to run for Columbia University. Firl’s teammates, Haley Meier, Hannah Meier and Aubryn Samaroo, have also chosen which programs they intend to run for post high school.

In the past two years, Grosse Pointe South’s track and cross country programs have a combined three state titles and one state runner-up finish to its credit.

That kind of success is likely to garner the attention of college programs, as evidenced by the signing of four of South’s athletes to continue their careers past high school.

Hannah and Haley Meier signed with Duke University, Aubryn Samaroo signed with Brown, and Christina Firl signed with Columbia.

During their time at South, according to track and cross country coach Steve Zaranek, the Meier twins have set more than 30 school, league and invitational all-time records, while Firl and Samaroo have both received All-State honors.

Zaranek appreciates the contributions they have made to South’s program.

“All four have been a huge part of the core of our team over the years,” he said. “Hannah and Haley have had a variety of incredible accomplishments during their career. Christina has been one of the best distance runners we’ve had in history, and Aubryn brought a versatility to our team that has been hard to equal.

“Between the four, they have given us extraordinary depth. They have brought great leadership qualities to our team, as well. And while we will certainly miss them next year, I am beyond confident that they are all going to colleges that will allow them to excel in even greater ways.”

While Hannah Meier may be excited about the opportunity that awaits her and her sister at Duke, she believes she will miss being a part of South’s program, and appreciates the chance she has had to be a part of it.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I love it there. I love the team I’ve been on. Our coach is fabulous. Our 120 girls on the team is the best family.”

While the Meier twins, Firl and Samaroo have all made their choice as to which college they plan to attend, there is still one more track season at South that awaits them. Zaranek is happy to have them in the mix, as South will aim to defend its two consecutive state titles.

“They’re part of a tremendously talented team that we have,” he said. “One of our goals is to win the state championship again. There have only been two teams in history that have (won) three in a row. We would like to be included in that group. These four will be among probably 20 girls on our team that are very talented, very dedicated, (and) very committed to making a possibility of this being even our best team ever.”

Firl credits South’s coaches for the success the program has enjoyed, and she is pleased to race for the track team for one more season.

“Very excited for my last track season,” she said. “As a team, we want to defend the state title and take home a state championship again.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.