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Red Hawks roll over Northview 50-15

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks knew going into last Friday’s OK-White conference game against Northview that if they were going to have any chance at winning the game, they were going to have stop the Wild Cats’ explosive running back, Ja’kaurie Kirkland.

Aiden Brunin (28) and Miles Cartwright (4) celebrate in the end zone after Cartwright picks up a fumble and runs 65 yards for a touchdown against Northview. Photo by Rob and Kelly LaLone

When the Red Hawks took the field at Red Hawk stadium, they meant business. And it showed in the way they executed their game plan.

“We had a great week of preparation for the game, and we were really focused,” explained Cedar Springs Coach Gus Kapolka. “We wanted to limit their run game, establish our run game, and play inspired special teams—and we did all three of those things on Friday night.”

Cedar Springs kicked off to Northview to start the game, and after losing yardage in their first possession, Northview punted to Cedar Springs. They took possession on the Northview 47-yard line, and on the first play, with 9:54 on the clock, Red Hawk Nathan Elliston ran 47-yards for a touchdown. He also ran in the two-point conversion, to make the score 8-0 Cedar Springs.

The Wild Cats came back just a few minutes later to score when Daniel Frey passed to Kaden Boucher for a 6-yard touchdown. Kolbe Vandenberg then passed to Kinji Black for the two-point conversion and the score was now 8-8, with 6:18 left in the quarter.

Cedar Springs scored again on their next drive, when Ben Shaw ran for a 24-yard touchdown with 4:24 left on the clock in the first. Nathan Elliston ran in the two-point conversion. The score was now 16-8, Cedar Springs.

Northview failed to get a first down on their next drive, and tried a fake punt on fourth down. That resulted in Cedar Springs taking over on the Northview 36-yard line, with 2:57 left in the first. They worked their way down to the 10-yard line, where Aiden Brunin ran the ball in for a touchdown with 13 seconds on the clock. The two-point conversion was no good, and the score was now Cedar Springs 22, Northview 8.

Both teams scored again in the second quarter. Northview scored with 7:31 left on the clock on a pass from Daniel Frey to Kaden Boucher for a 9-yard touchdown. Eric Mendez then kicked the extra point. The score was now 22-15, Cedar Springs.

Then, with 2:42 left on the clock in the second, Northview’s Frey passed the ball to Boucher, who ran 3-yards and fumbled it. The ball was recovered on the CS 35-yard line by Red Hawk Miles Cartwright, who ran 65-yards for a touchdown. The extra point try was no good. The score was now CS 28, Northview 15.

Cedar Springs then kicked off to Northview, and on 3rd and 11, Frey passed to Prade Horling but it was intercepted by Red Hawk Aiden Brunin at the Northview 50. Cedar Springs then took over, and after several plays, they scored on a 23-yard pass from QB Jeremy Champione to Brunin. Ben Shaw then ran in the 2-point conversion. With just 13 seconds left in the half, the score was now CS 36, Northview 15.

When the 3rd quarter rolled around, Cedar Springs still had not run out of steam. Northview kicked off to the Red Hawks, and they started their drive on the Cedar Springs 35. Brunin ran for 10 yards on the first play, and then ran 55-yards for the touchdown. Champione then passed to Da’Montae Barnett for the two-point conversion. With 11:05 left on the clock in the third, it was now CS 44, Northview 15.

Cedar Springs scored again at the end of the 3rd quarter with 1:12 left on the clock. Northview’s Frey attempted to pass to Kyle Vanderjagt but Red Hawk Miles Cartwright intercepted it at the CS 25, and returned it to the Northview 49. That set up the next play, when Zack Schmid ran 49 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, and the score was now Cedar Springs 50, Northview 15, with one quarter left to play. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

How important does Kapolka think the turnovers were for their team? “Turnovers are always really big, but when you can covert turnovers to points like Miles’ fumble return for a touchdown, it breaks the back of your opponent,” he explained.

The Red Hawks garnered 367 yards rushing, with at least 10 different players each having a piece of it, and 9 of them had yardage in the double digits. Brunin led the pack with 98; Schmid had 69; Elliston 54; Shaw 34; Barnett 29; Jeff Clark 27; Champione 24; Nathan Male 15; Dylan Greenland 11; and Logan Petty 6.

Champione completed two passes on two attempts for 32 yards, to Brunin (23 yards) and Kaden Liggett (9 yards).

The Red Hawks limited Northview to a total of 120 yards rushing. Half of that was Kirkland, who had 63 yards; Frey had 28; and Gavin Jones 20.

Frey completed 13 passes on 24 attempts for 170 yards in the air. Receivers included Boucher, Vanderjagt, Kirkland, Horling, and Jailen Tatum.

On Friday, September 20, the Red Hawks will travel to Greenville to take on the Yellow Jackets in a long-standing rivalry between conference foes. What does Kapolka think they need to do to win?

“We need to continue our improvement on the offensive and defensive fronts in order to beat Greenville,” he said. “This is a rivalry game for us, and we look forward to the challenge that the Yellow Jackets pose.”

Cedar Springs is now 1-0 in conference, and 2-1 overall. Greenville is 0-1 in conference, and 0-3 overall. They lost last Friday to Lowell in conference play, 40-0.

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Community rallies to Breakthrough events

Many people here in Cedar Springs had never heard of the miraculous true story behind the movie Breakthrough, until last weekend. That’s when they not only got to see the movie, which is a Fox/Disney production now out on DVD—but they got to meet the real life characters as well.

L to R: Pastor Jason Noble, John Smith, and his mother, Joyce Smith shared their story with the audience at the Breakthrough events. Courtesy photos

The movie tells the story of the miraculous recovery of 14-year-old John Smith, who fell through the ice on a lake in St. Louis, Missouri in 2015. He was underwater for 15 minutes—and had no pulse for an hour. It was then that his mother prayed for Jesus to send his Holy Spirit and bring her boy back to life—and he did. But that was just the beginning of an amazing story.

A group of community leaders here in Cedar Springs wanted to give people the opportunity to see the movie and hear this inspirational story, so they created a weekend of events and brought the three main real life characters from the movie here to tell their story.

Last weekend’s Breakthrough events totaled almost 1,000 attendees. The events were coordinated by a Breakthrough Committee comprised of representatives from En Gedi, City Impact, Resurrection Life Church Rockford, and The Springs Church along with additional support from numerous community members, businesses, and organizations. 

The first of three events took place at the new community amphitheater located in the downtown Heart of Cedar Springs Park just west of the Community Library on Saturday evening. City Impact’s monthly worship service began at 5 p.m. A free roasted pig and hot dog dinner followed the service for the estimated 600 folks gathered. 

“It was a heart-warming site to witness the many community members and families sitting on blankets and lawn chairs surrounding the amphitheater and visiting with each other under perfect weather conditions,” said Sue Wolfe, and En Gedi representative working on the Breakthrough committee. “I believe this is exactly what was envisioned by all those who worked so hard on making the amphitheater a reality. Having this facility and working in partnership with existing organizations to provide free community-building events is part of En Gedi’s mission.” 

While waiting for the darkness to fall and the movie to begin, three of the real people featured in the movie Breakthrough spoke with the crowd and answered questions. A tapestry of miracles unfolded following John Smith’s accident, which were beautifully articulated by John, his mother Joyce Smith, and their then pastor, Jason Noble. John shared his story of struggling with being adopted, being rescued and brought back to life, and the loss of his opportunity to be a collegiate basketball player. Both his mother and pastor also shared their challenges and victories. 

“Our community is so fortunate to actually have three of the real people from this top ranked movie here to share their personal testimony. John is in his first year of college; Joyce has had some health issues; and Pastor Jason now lives in Oregon. Yet, they coordinated their schedules with a commitment to be here and share their walk of faith,” said Julie Wheeler, who was instrumental in making this connection and part of the Breakthrough Committee. 

Once it became dark enough and just prior to the start of the movie, the crowd paused, stood, and applauded in recognition and thanks for our local fire, rescue, and police officers. The movie features a heroic rescue by the St. Louis area fire, rescue, and police departments that set the stage to be reminded of the men and women who serve our community each and every day. 

The movie was then played on the 22-foot inflatable movie screen, donated by City Manager Michael Womack and his wife, Glenna. 

Sunday’s journey began with two worship services at Resurrection Life Church Rockford featuring Pastor Noble and the Smiths. After that, events took place at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Cedar Springs High School Auditorium, which included showing the movie, personal presentations, and the opportunity to ask questions. Ladies and Men of Honor, a partner with En Gedi, were on hand to share information about their faith-based program of developing honorable ladies and men. 

City Impact co-directors, Kelley Jo and Jonathan Bergsma, along with Sally Hart, Resurrection Life Church Rockford member, and Pastor Craig Owens, Executive Director for En Gedi’s free after-school youth center, were all instrumental with their leadership on the Breakthrough Team as well as securing funding and resources. 

“It was definitely a team effort to bring these events to Cedar Springs, which is what City Impact is all about,” explained Kelley Jo. “City Impact is an outreach organization for our community. I am grateful for all the businesses, organizations, and people who jumped in to help over the past weekend.” 

The Springs Church provided movie-goers with popcorn and had offered their fellowship hall as a back-up in the case of inclement weather on Saturday. Cherryl Rosenberger, The Springs Church office manager, also served on the Breakthrough Committee. 

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Students to create Athletic Hall of Fame

These Athletic Leadership Conference students spoke at the board meeting Monday evening. From L to R: Kaden Liggett, Kaylie Andres, Harlow Hovarter, Desiree Wise.

By Judy Reed

Do you know of someone that was an athlete or coach at Cedar Springs High School that excelled in their position, or went on to excel in sports outside of high school? That person might be a good candidate for the newly established Cedar Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Cedar Springs Athletic Leadership Council (ALC), which is made up of student athletes and overseen by teacher Justin Harnden, has been working on this new Hall of Fame to “recognize and honor those Cedar Springs High School athletes, coaches, administrators, volunteers, and supporters who excelled in their respective sports or coaching/support roles.”

The student athletes have been working on the Hall of Fame for the last year—researching what other schools do, what Cedar Springs had before, planning how the nomination process will work, how the nominees will be elected, where it will be in the school. They will also design it and promote it as well.

Harnden said he knew they used to have something honoring athletes at the old high school (Red Hawk Elementary) and they had tried to find out what happened to it. He said his understanding was that it was more like press clippings and other things honoring the athletes, such as trophies. “This Hall of Fame will be something bigger and more prestigious—something at a higher level,” he explained.

Four of the students working on the project spoke with the Post on Monday, and went before the Board of Education Monday evening to talk about their plans.

“I think it’s a very special thing to start something as huge as this could be,” said Kaylie Andres, a senior. “It’s cool to acknowledge people I know and those who have been here before in athletics. It’s huge for the community.”

“We’ve been striving to improve the culture of the athletic department,” explained Harlow Hovarter, also a senior. “With this, the community gets to support our culture and see what we’ve been doing.”

Senior Kaden Liggett is excited about the work they’ve done, and will still be doing on the Hall of Fame. “I was really surprised we didn’t already have one,” he remarked. “When I have kids and bring them here, and I can point to it and tell them I helped create that. I had an impact here,” he said. 

He added that Cedar Springs is an athletically inclined community. “It’s a good way for the ALC to leave our mark,” he said.

Senor Desiree Wise has also been working on the Hall of Fame. “So many people focus on the here and now and don’t look at the success we’ve had. This will help us look at the show of leadership and be proud of what has come in the past.”

“It’s good to look at where we’ve come from and highlight Cedar Springs as a whole,” added Harlow. 

The goal is for forms for nominations to be out for distribution by Red Flannel Day, and they will take nominations through December. The forms will be available on the school website. Any community member can nominate someone, but Harnden said it would be a pretty stringent process. An athlete has to have been out of high school for 10 years. A coach has to have been at the school for at least 10 years, and then out of the school for at least five years. State champions or teams will automatically be considered, and do not have to be nominated. Once a person has been nominated, they will be up for consideration for five years. After that, they must be nominated again, and they can be nominated a total of four times.

No more than eight people will be chosen for the Hall of Fame each year, with a possible exception the first year. A board consisting 5-12 members will cast the deciding votes. To be elected, a nominee must get a yes vote from at least 75 percent of the board members. The board will be made up of the Athletic Director, a CSHS building administrator, a retired or former administrator, current and former coaches, current and former faculty members, and a current or former athletic booster member. They will each serve two-year terms. 

After the decisions are made, an induction ceremony will be held. 

The new Hall of Fame area will be in the hallway near the gymnasium, But it doesn’t come without cost. Harnden said that the Athletic Boosters have given them $1,000 in seed money, and if the community would like to donate to the Hall of Fame, they could do it through the Cedar Springs Athletic office. Any checks should note they are for the Cedar Springs Hall of Fame, and be sent in c/o AD John Norton.

Watch the Post for more information, as the forms for the first rotation of nominees for the Hall of Fame get ready to roll out!

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Firefighters presented with life saving award

From L to R: Andrew Bobo, Matt Schievink, and Taylor Hunt received a special life saving award Tuesday evening at the Solon Township Board meeting. Missing from the photo is Solon Firefighter Rich Hays, who also is an award recipient. Courtesy photo.

On September 10, 2019 at the Solon Township Board Meeting, four members of Solon FD were presented a Life Saving Award by the Kent County Emergency Medical Services, Medical Control Authority Systems Administrator, Mr. Lance Corey.

This award was given for their efforts with “Exceptional Patient Care” of a critically injured patient on August 16, 2018 suffered during a motor vehicle crash on Algoma Avenue near Quarter Horse Drive in Solon Township. The patient, Lila DeLine, had slowed or stopped to turn into a driveway and was hit from behind by another driver. The force of the impact caused her to suffer a life-threatening spinal cord injury—she was internally decapitated, an injury that usually proves fatal. She spent just over a week at Spectrum Health, and then transferred to Mary Free Bed for Rehabilitation. 

The members of the Solon Fire Department receiving the award included Matt Schievink, Taylor Hunt, Andrew Bobo, and Rich Hays. 

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Survival program at the Cedar Springs Library

Brooke Whipple (left) and Melissa Dubridge, Cedar Springs Library. Courtesy photo.

On Wednesday August 28, Brooke Whipple came to the Cedar Springs Library for an amazing survival program. Brooke Whipple competed on two seasons of the popular History Channel Show, ALONE. She survived 49 days in Vancouver and 28 days in Mongolia. Adventurer, speaker, joy miner—these words have come to define Brooke’s life-first growing up in rural Michigan and then searching for wilderness and mountains in Alaska where she has spent most of her adult life.

The library had around 90 people from young children to adults that attended this survival packed event. Brooke shared her stories from her time on the show and her passion for the great outdoors. Everyone at the program was put in a real life survival situation and had to choose which 3 survival items they would take if their plane was crash landing in a remote area. It was great to hear other people’s views on what would be most important for their survival. Brooke then taught everyone basic survival skills and how you can mentally keep yourself in check during a tragic situation. Overall the program was a huge success and brought smiles to many people’s faces.

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Michigan animal shelters achieve statewide No Kill status

No kill state 2018 Live Release By County.pdf

90 percent of cats and dogs now being saved

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan – Michigan Pet Fund Alliance (MPFA) announced a 90 percent statewide average live release rate for dogs and cats in Michigan shelters for 2018, including animals returned to owners, transferred to other shelters and rescue organizations, and adopted.

“This is an amazing first for our state,” said Deborah Schutt, MPFA founder and chairperson. “When the shelters in a state combine to meet the 90 percent target, that state is considered No Kill for shelter animals. Only Delaware, which has three shelters, compared to 174 in Michigan, also reached the No Kill benchmark last year.”

MPFA began tracking Michigan statistics in 2009 from annual reports submitted by shelters to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, as required by law. Those reports showed more than 120,000 dogs and cats were losing their lives in Michigan shelters every year. That number is now just over 13,000 for the entire year of 2018.

MPFA is the only statewide organization whose mission is to end the killing of homeless healthy or treatable cats and dogs in Michigan. To support that mission, they offer a wide variety of programs and technical assistance to shelters and rescue groups, including grants, awards, mentoring, networking hands-on training and shelter assessments. Kroon grants provide rescue organizations up to $200 toward veterinary bills for each special needs or elderly animal they pull from shelters.

“While it’s exciting to see Michigan as a state achieve No Kill status by reaching the 90 percent goal, we still have a few communities struggling to save lives, especially with cats,” Schutt said. “We will continue to work with shelters and rescue organizations to implement best practices, decrease overall length of stay in the shelter and improve the quality of life for homeless pets while they are in shelter.”

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City Hall Corner

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

Lies, darned lies and statistics

Social media is not always a reliable source of information. If the information on social media were always to be believed, we would all be looking forward to a gentleman’s club opening in the City (not true as far as I am aware).

Recently there was a post on social media proclaiming the City’s tax rates to be the highest in Kent County, a “fact” that is simply not true. That “fact” is only true if you look at a sliver of the facts, or if you don’t look at the facts at all.

The information presented on social media stated that the City’s local taxes were the highest in Kent County at 16.43 mills. This is only true if you ignore the millage paid for libraries because in Cedar Springs the library is shown as part of the local voted operating millage but in some other communities it is considered part of a library authority millage. If you look at the information that way, one community has a local millage rate of 17.2156 and another has a 19.7294 local millage rate.

However, you can’t look at just the local municipal taxes when comparing millage tax rates, you have to look at the total mills paid under all taxing authorities. When you look at the total mills, you see that Cedar Springs has a total rate of 44a.1413 mills and there are at least 4 other communities in Kent County with higher total millage rates (49.3341, 44.9098, 49.0993 and 44.1932). Beyond Kent County, Cedar Springs also maintains a total millage rate that compares favorably to other cities and villages of a similar size.

Now, that being said, it is never a goal to have higher tax rates but it is unfortunately necessary in some regards. Cedar Springs does have the lowest total taxable value and lowest taxable value per capita of any municipality in Kent County. The next lowest City has 45 percent more taxable value than Cedar Springs.  To accomplish the same governmental services with less taxable value necessitates a slightly higher millage tax rate.

One of the reasons behind Cedar Springs’ low total taxable value is because of a lack of industrial and commercial development in the City. Over the last three years, the City Council and Planning Commission have undertaken an aggressive strategy to increase business investment in the community. The more business there is in the City, the higher the taxable value available and the lower the tax rate needed to bring in the same amount of money to run the government. The strategy is paying off as we saw the second highest value increase in the County last year and lots of new development in the works.

Every member of the City’s government and City Hall staff work hard to look out for the best interests of the City and its citizens. If you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns about how the government is run or how it spends your taxes we are happy to try and answer your questions or provide you with true and accurate facts and information. We are also happy to have citizens attend any meeting of the government, all of which are free and open to the public. If you have thoughts, questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the city manager at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org or you can contact the City generally through our website at: https://cityofcedarsprings.org/contact/. 

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Rise Up Church to hold first worship service

Sunday, September 15, at Cedar Springs Middle School

Some of the launch team members preparing for September 15. Courtesy photo.

Rise Up Church, a new church in Cedar Springs, is holding its first ever worship service on September 15, at 10:00 a.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School. The church’s pastor, Rev. Jon Huizenga, said that this would be the first of three monthly services scheduled (September 15, October 20, November 17). A grand opening of weekly Sunday worship will follow later.

“We want to be an accepting, non-judgmental church community that celebrates God rising up to show his compassion in Cedar Springs,” said Huizenga. The young church has been active since January holding weekly launch team gatherings plus monthly invitation events and monthly community engagement and serving projects. 

According to church information, one can expect to experience at the service: “Safe, enjoyable children’s ministry for infants through elementary school. Drinks and snacks. Freedom to wear what you want and to be accepted as you are. A new church community that celebrates God rising up to show his compassion in Cedar Springs.”

Jon and his wife, Sam, have worked with teams to start two other churches. Most recently Jon started and led River Rock Church in Rockford. The Huizengas are planning to move into their new home on Dio Drive at the end of September. “We love the city of Cedar Springs and look forward to living alongside all of our neighbors here,” Huizenga said. “We would love to meet you on September 15 if you are able to join us.”

Follow them on Facebook, just search for “rise up church.”

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Thomas F. Zerfas, age 73, of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, September 5, 2019 at his home. Tom was born March 7, 1946 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Reynold and Bernice (Saller) Zerfas. He was an avid outdoorsman and a loving father and grandfather. He enjoyed attending his grandkids’ events. Surviving are his wife, Sharon, whom he married on October 30, 1965; children, John (Tonya Fenton) Zerfas, Barb (Jeff) Gust, Peter (Amy) Zerfas, Kris (Larry) Nylaan, Sarah (Joe) Morse; 16 grandchildren; 1 great-grandson; siblings, Rose Balczak, Richard (Donna) Zerfas, Hank (Wendy) Zerfas, Ron (Pam) Zerfas; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Jim Balczak. A Memorial Mass was held Monday, September 9 at Mary Queen of Apostles Church, Sand Lake. A celebration of his life followed the mass in the church hall. Private family interment at St. John’s Cemetery, Ensley Township. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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First OK White conference win for boys cross country

The Red Hawks taking charge at the start of the race.

The Red Hawks ran smart to secure their first OK White conference meet win on September 4 on the challenging course located at Lowell High School. They came away with a 42-point performance and a 6-point victory over Lowell and the rest of the OK White conference. 

Corey Bowers (3rd), Daniel Vermulm (4th), Jaydon Moleski (6th), Dilan Sargent (11th), and Gavin Braciak (20th) rounded out the top 5 each running smart and tactical races. Austin Mann (25th) and Carter Moleski (29th) rounded out the varsity squad with some nice insurance for the team. 

Gabe White (30th), Cayden Steinebach (47th), Espen Wood (53rd), Caleb Menefee (72nd), Justin Voskuil (74th), and Ben Mallory (NT) previewed what proves to be a bright varsity squad in a couple of years. Eli Malon (96th), Logan Douglas (101st), Connor Skelonc (104th), Jonathan Reed (121st), and Gabe Minnich (142nd) showed great improvement and determination that will prove to continue throughout the season. 

 “Our boys ran a smart, tactical race on Wednesday. Lowell’s course is one of the toughest we’ll see all season. We knew the Red Arrows were a much improved team this year and would be working hard to give us a run for our money on their home course, and our veterans came through in a big way. This was our sixth consecutive first-place finish in OK White competition. Our consistent preparation and mutual trust on race day has made that possible. We’ll be working to continue this exciting stretch of success throughout the remainder of the season and beyond,” said Coach Jones.

On Saturday, September 7, the team traveled to Central Montcalm High School where they took to the course at a grade level meet. All four of the seniors were in the top 10 finishers of their race with each receiving medals. These individuals included Jaydon Moleski, Daniel Vermulm, Gavin Braciak, and Dilan Sargent. All of the juniors competing also received medals and included Corey Bowers, Austin Mann, Justin Voskuil, Caleb Menefee, and Logan Douglas. The sophomores had four receive medals for their times.  These individuals were Carter Moleski, Gabe White, Cayden Steinebach, and Ben Mallory. Freshmen earning medals for the first time this season were Espen Wood, Clayton Akerman, Eli Malon, and Connor Skelonc.  

“This was a great opportunity for our younger runners to get a real idea on where they stand against runners their age. We had a lot of breakout performances, and I was very proud of our performance. Despite not having any team scores to show for it, I believe we had the strongest team performance that day. Our future is bright. Training will continue to intensify over the next couple of weeks. They are ready for some tough workouts that will prepare them for championship racing.  I’m looking forward to watching these guys continue to improve and hit some faster courses as the season progresses. Next Friday’s MSU Invite will be the first true test as to where these boys stand against some of the best teams in Michigan,” said Coach Jones.

The team travels to the MSU Spartan Invite for competition on Friday, September 13.  

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