Video footage and interview by CJ Bennett
It will go down in the history books as Jessica Jazwinski defending her individual title in the MHSAA Division 3 cross country state finals.
The Hart junior does not view it as “defending,” however — 2023 is a different year than 2022, she noted.
Semantics aside, Jazwinski made history Saturday at Michigan International Speedway with a Division 3 state finals-record time of 17:08.8 as she cruised to the championship in beating the rest of the field by nearly 41 seconds.
Jackson Lumen Christi senior Madison Osterberg was runner-up with a time of 17:49.5 in leading her team to the Division 3 state championship.
“I’m must so proud of myself and my performance today because last year was a completely different year and this year I’m a completely different runner, so I’m really excited to come back another year,” Jazwinski told CJ Bennett, who was covering the state finals on behalf of CatchMark SportsNet.
“I’m just grabbing another state title — I wouldn’t say I’m defending it because I’m two different runners, two different years. I’m really excited to take another one home.”
Last fall, Jazwinski captured her first cross country state championship at MIS with a time of 17:36.7.
Jazwinski ran two better times this season than her clocking on Saturday. She established her personal record of 16:47.8 in the West Michigan Conference Mega Meet Oct. 17 at Mason County Fairgrounds. She turned in a time of 17:08.5 in the Shepherd Bluejay Invite on Sept. 30.
Last December, Jazwinski finished 11th in the Champs Sports Cross Country Championships in San Diego en route to All-American accolades.
Last spring, Jazwinski helped power Hart’s girls track and field team to a second-straight MHSAA Division 3 state title. She placed first in the 3200-meter run, took second in the 1600, third in the 800, and ran a leg on the Pirates’s fourth-place 4×800 relay team.
Saturday was a big day for the Jazwinski family. Freshman Bobby Jazwinski placed third in the MHSAA Division 3 boys state finals with a time of 15:54.0.
Hart’s girls and boys teams both placed 10th at the state finals Saturday, which was a nice send-off for coaches Terry and Linda Tatro, who are retiring after guiding the Pirates to wild success. Hart captured five straight Division 3 girls cross country state championships from 2017 to 2021, and in 2022 it was the boys’ turn as they ran to the Division 3 state title.
“This is our coaches’ last year coaching us and so it’s been really emotional for all of us and so we’re really excited to perform our best today for our coaches,” Jessica Jazwinski said.
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