MONTAGUE — Cammie Erickson admitted that she’s not in love with running, but the Montague senior is a competitor and she has a lot of pride.
Erickson qualified for the MHSAA Division 3 cross country state finals this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. She finished 18th with a time of 21:16.75 in last Saturday’s regional at Allendale, placing her among the top seven individuals not on state finals-qualifying teams who advance to the big stage at MIS.
Erickson is the last Wildcats athlete still competing in the 2023 fall sports season and she worked very hard for her state finals-qualifying achievement.
“I think that’s pretty normal,” Montague cross country coach Joe Brunson said about the love of running for the sake of running. “I ran in college at Hillsdale College and I’m not sure I ever loved running, especially running hard for the sake of running. I enjoyed the competition, I enjoyed pushing myself. What (runners) enjoy is the sense of achievement, the competition, pushing themselves, and potentially winning or a personal best or something like that.
“I mean, I had some teammates that were All-Americans and I’m not sure any of them would say they learned to enjoy running and those hard workouts and pushing ourselves into pain and discomfort for the sake of, ‘I just enjoy pain.’ That’s not really the way it works typically.”
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
The 18-year-old daughter of Jon and Melissa Erickson has assembled a solid cross country season. She established her personal-best time of 20:56.3 in the Allendale Falcon Invite on Sept. 30.
Erickson finished 10th in the Lakes Division of the West Michigan Conference Mega Meet Oct. 17 at Mason County Fairgrounds. She was 14th in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association meet Oct. 14 at University Park Golf Course.
Erickson’s older sister, Natalie, is a 2022 Montague alumna and she was an all-state sprinter for the Wildcats. According to Brunson, Natalie Erickson possesses “raw speed.” She took her talents to Muskegon Community College.
Cammie Erickson’s strength lies more in the mid- to longer distances. During track and field season last spring, the 5-foot-1 dynamo competed in the 800, 1600, 4×400 relay, 4×800 relay, and even pole vault.
“She seemed to have a certain determination and strong will for sure,” Brunson said about his first impressions of Erickson when he met her in school prior to coaching her. “She’s been dedicated in the aspect of putting in the time and the miles. We did a little bit of a mileage contest this summer and she was the winner in that contest pretty easily.
“She can be really committed in that and from what I’ve seen, she really likes sports and games so it’s fun.”
Erickson, who carries a 3.75 GPA, said she’s taking “easier” classes this year because she took difficult classes last year and they brought her GPA down. She ranks 11th in her graduating class, but her goal is to finish top 10.
Erickson does not have huge expectations for the cross country state finals. She’s not nervous for it, going there “just to have fun.”
Brunson said a “big crew” wiill be headed down there to watch Erickson run on Saturday. The Division 3 girls state finals race is scheduled for 10:10 a.m.
“I think it’s a pretty big deal, especially around here. I don’t think we have a reputation for being a running school. There’s a lot in the way of obstacles to overcome to produce runners who advance to the state meet,” Brunson said.
“I think it’s a big deal. She’s had to be pretty disciplined. She had a stress fracture that she had last year in track that she had to work through. I had a stress fracture when I was a collegiate runner and that was difficult to work through and come back from. I think she’s come back from that with a pretty good deal of determination and discipline and has been able to keep her head together to work past that.”
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