ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WLNS) – Saturday was one to remember for St. Johns runner Ava Schafer who captured the top spot in the Greater Lansing Cross Country Championships. The freshman finished with a time of 18:32.5 and became the first female Redwings runner to win the individual title at the meet since 2014.

So how did Shafer figure out she was pretty speedy? Well, she has her dad to thank for that when he realized she enjoyed chasing the soccer ball around the pitch more than actually playing the game of soccer. Schafer then started taking running more seriously in the 5th grade and went on to win the Jr. Greater Lansing Meet twice during her middle school years. Fast forward to now and she isn’t just on the rise for cross country records.

“I run basically as far as it goes so about 3200 and 1600,” Schafer said. “I’ve done some 800’s, but the farther it is the better. Although, I do like cross country more because everyone does the same training each day instead of track where everyone is split up.”

“She had a couple of very good years at middle school both in cross country and in track,” Bob Sackrider, St. Johns Cross Country coach said. “She actually had a phenomenal track season in middle school. She ran a 3200-meter time in middle school that would have actually been our high school record. So we knew exactly what she was before she got here and she knows exactly what she is, although she never carries herself that way. She always carries herself with tremendous humility.”