By Lenny Sementi
Senior and newcomer to the sport of cross country Laney Cummings turned more than a few heads this season and she almost turned a few more this past Saturday at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth. The first year runner was a near miss falling a few spots short of advancing out of the Decatur St. Teresa regional crossing the line in 21 minutes and 22 seconds to finish in 39th place overall out of over 90 runners.
The IHSA was forced to limit the number of advancing runners due to COVID-19 guidelines reducing it from seven teams to five eliminating anywhere from ten to sixteen more individuals from sectional qualification. Cummings would have secured at the least the fifth and final advancing individual spot available had there been no change.
Fellow senior Brynn Tabeling came up short as well. The fourth year runner was just two spots back in 41st overall ending her career delivering a time of 21:36 as the Warriors number two scorer helping Tuscola to a tenth place finish out of 16 teams, six of which were state ranked.
Sophomore Reggan Smith trotted past the finish in the three hole for Tuscola clocking in at 23:32. Senior and four year runner Hannah Hornaday was next posting a 24:02 while junior Skylar Wilkins ended the scoring in the five spot with a time of 26:27. Two newcomers this season Freshman Lauren Woods and first year sophomore Mia Hausmann toured the three-mile hilly course as alternates for coach Mike Rosenbaum.
Due to COVID guidelines and the large number of runners teams were forced to launch runners in flights changing the overall landscape of competition. “It was unlike any race we’ve run this year…,” commented the coach. “The girls have done a great job of feeding energy off of each other all year. This was the first race they’d been split up into different heats, and I think it threw off some of their rhythms. Not using each other’s energy and positive vibes I think caused them to come out a little flat.”