Bonner qualifies for Nike Nationals
Paul Constazo – Times Herald 11/18/14
Rachel Bonner just keeps getting better, and her competition just keeps getting bigger.
On Sunday, the Port Huron junior ran a new personal best time of 17 minutes, 38.1 seconds for five kilometers to finished fourth at the Nike Cross Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her finish qualifies her for the Nike National Championships, which is scheduled on Dec. 6 in Portland, Oregon.
“It was a great day,” Bonner said. “Right at the beginning of the race, I could tell my body was prepared. I felt fresh. My training has been great since the state meet.”
Bonner was one of three Port Huron High School runners to compete in the event, and the only one to reach the championship race. Teammates Lily Hurtubise and Nicole Mallory ran in the open race, both finishing with a time of 21:23.1 to share 147th place out of 353 runners. Four Port Huron Northern boys also ran, with Brad Mallory coming in with the best time at 16:10 to finish 122nd in the championship race.
Bailey Paulus (84th, 17:04.2), Tyler Champenoy (133rd, 17:18.8) and Jack Gillespie (153rd, 17:24.5) all ran in the open race.
By finishing among the top five individuals, Bonner has earned an all-expenses-paid trip to the nationals. She hopes to spend four days in Oregon.
“They get you all your racing gear. They hook you up with a lot of Nike gear, and you train with other Nike athletes, some of their professional athletes,” Bonner said. “They pay the flight, the hotel, all your meals are taken care of.”
Sarah Kettel of Capital Homeschool in Lansing won the race with a time of 17:28.8. She was the Michigan Homeschool state champion, winning that race on Oct. 25 by more than 2 minutes. Audrey Belf of Birmingham Seaholm, who won the Division 1 state title, placed second at 17:30.6 and Anna Sophia Keller of Illinois was third in 17:31.3.
Bonner was followed by Dominique Clairmonte of Ohio, who finished fifth at 17:39.7.
The fourth-place finish matched Bonner’s performance in the Division 1 state meet on Nov. 1. On that day, she ran the course at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in 17:54.4, just tenths of a second off her former personal best.
She said that she has been training with members of the Northern boys team since the high school season ended. She was running with them toward the end of her high school season, as well.
“It’s just cool to look at where I started at the beginning of the season,” Bonner said. “Thinking, can I be All-State, then placing fourth at state, and now going to nationals. It’s so cool to watch, and I know what I did, all the hard work that I put in.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.