The Saginaw News Fall Season Dream Team –
The Saginaw News Fall Season Dream Team

The Saginaw News, November 27, 2009 7:32 p.m.

Nathaniel Ellsworth, boys cross country

The Heritage boys cross country team has propelled its program into a state power and senior Nathaniel Ellsworth can look back at his four seasons with the Hawks knowing he left it in a lot better shape than how he found it.

Ellsworth was one of just two runners back from last year’s run to a runner-up finish in Division 1 and he returned to help the team capture its third-straight regional, Saginaw County and Saginaw Valley League titles.

“I’m definitely satisfied with what I did at Heritage,” Ellsworth said. “There were two or three guys committed to running when I came here and by my sophomore year, we had eight guys heading to camps at Grand Valley. The eight of us came back ready to run and nearly took states.

“That changed our whole program.”

Ellsworth finished as the top runner in Saginaw County after winning the invitational with a 16:39.9 time. He took third at regionals and just missed all-state honors at the state meet with a 34th place finish (26:23) on a mucky day at Brooklyn’s Michigan International Speedway. The Hawks finished sixth in the state this year and seventh in Ellsworth’s sophomore season. He ran a personal best 16:03 at the Michigan State University Invitational, finishing fifth against the best competition in the state.

Bridget Bennett, girls cross country

Bridget Bennett’s highly-decorated running career started as a playful taunt from her father during her varsity softball season as a freshman.

“It’s kind of funny because because I told my dad that I wanted to run track and play softball this year,” the senior from Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart recalls. “He bet me that I wouldn’t even break six minutes in the mile. I finished in 5 minutes, 25 seconds.

“I still make fun of him about it.”

Her father was all smiles three weeks ago, when Bennett won the Division 4 cross country state meet for the second-straight season. Bennett coasted through rough conditions to win in 18:35.9, 40 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

“It was the perfect way to end a senior season,” the 18-year-old Bennett said. “I didn’t even run cross country until my sophomore year. It all happened when I ran in three meets in track as a freshman and finished 10th in the state.”

Bennett eventually dropped her first love of basketball last season to focus on a running career. She now plans on running collegiately out East and has looked to programs like Amherst College in Massachusetts or Providence College in Rhode Island. The 18-year-old plans to study theology and moral law.

Categories: Track and Cross News

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