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November 14, 2012

Local cross country runner takes first place at state meet

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Local cross country runner takes first place at state meet
Macomb Lutheran North sophomore Gina Patterson leads the way at a Macomb County race. Patterson wrapped up her sophomore season as the Division 3 state champion.

Macomb Lutheran North sophomore Gina Patterson is the new Division 3 state cross country champion.

The Washington Township resident finished the state final race, held Nov. 3 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, in 17 minutes, 43.4 seconds. She was 17 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

Patterson took up cross country last year, and proceeded to finish in sixth place at the 2011 state finals. Despite getting off to such a strong start in her cross country career, Patterson said it was a surprise to finish in first at this year’s meet.

“It was a big blessing, and I’m so thankful,” she said.

“I would definitely like to thank my coaches, (head coach) Tim Grotelueschen and (assistant coach) Terry (Yee). They’ve helped me through it. And my family has been so supportive, and my friends, also.  Couldn’t ask for any better friends and family. And it’s great to represent such a wonderful school.”

Despite the promise she showed last year, Patterson is happy her coaches didn’t overwhelm her by creating lofty goals. Instead, her preference is to do the best she can and let the results fall where they will.

“My coaches were really good because they didn’t want to put any pressure on me,” Patterson said. “Our main goal was just to keep working hard. We didn’t really know what was going to happen at the meet.  Every meet, we would go out there with not really a plan or anything — just to use the talents and abilities God has given me, and just go out there and see what unfolds.”

Results like the kind Patterson has had during her short career as a cross country runner don’t happen by accident, and she has her ideas as to what it took to achieve them.

“You have to work hard,” she said. “Think positive. If you have a bad race or a bad day, you just got to use that to push you. I think you have to have a love for it, too.”

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