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Tag Archive | "cross country"

Girls cross-country regional champs


(left to right): Madi Phelps, Rieley Hondalus, Mandy Mann, Katie Weiler, Amanda Balzcak, Sirena Johnson, Lindsey Klien, Breeann Ovokaitys, Jessica Titus, Sommer VanDyke, Kayla Ovokaitys.

(left to right): Madi Phelps, Rieley Hondalus, Mandy Mann, Katie Weiler, Amanda Balzcak, Sirena Johnson, Lindsey Klien, Breeann Ovokaitys, Jessica Titus, Sommer VanDyke, Kayla Ovokaitys.

Obstacles did not take the Cedar Springs girl’s cross-country team off course for a Regional Division 2 Championship on Saturday, October 31 in Benzonia, Michigan. In an effort to eat, sleep, and prepare mentally prior to the race, the team traveled to Beulah and stayed at the Best Western Hotel. However, shortly after their arrival, power was lost for seven hours of their stay. The next morning, high winds, cold temperatures and rain saturated the course and presented challenging weather conditions for their 3.1-mile race. The mighty Red Hawks rose to the occasion to secure a first place finish earning 54 points among 15 competing teams throughout the region.

After finishing first in the Conference the prior week, this year’s Regional Championship, is the first time since 2000 the team has qualified for state as a team. From approximately 90 athletes, Breeann Ovokaitys finished first overall and led her team with a time of 19:10.  Two other teammates finished in the top 15 overall runners—freshman Katie Weiler, who came in second with a time of 19:27, and Amanda Balczak, who finished 8th with a time of 20:13. Other contributing members of the team included Sommer Vandyke (20:49-21st) and Jessica Titus (20:51-22nd).

When Breeann was asked what it takes to finish first in a race of this magnitude she replied, “Dedication and motivation. It takes year-round training and simply putting in the off-season miles. We have a great coach and teammates who make the training both enjoyable and worthwhile.” Ovakaitys was the 2008-09 Red Flannel Queen, and is on the board for the National Honor Society and Student Activities Council. She is active with her church praise team and plays the violin for school plays. She plans to be part of the CSHS track team this spring and then go on to college in the fall.

Coach Kahler was pleased with her team. “All the girls put their heart into this race and persevered in an effort to represent Cedar Springs at a state level,” she said. “Our goal now is to finish in the top 10 for Michigan. We were previously ranked 8th and look forward to a strong finish for the season,” she continued.

A faithful group of parents, grandparents, and community members braved the elements in support of the team. “It takes an outstanding coach to bring everything together to win a district and regional championship. Coach Kahler has certainly done that. We have some great student-athletes and family support as well,” commented Doran Myers, grandparent of runner Katie Weiler.

Coach Kahler works in cooperation with the men’s cross-country team coach, who is also her father, Ted Sabinas. The state meet will be this Saturday, November 7 at the MIS Speedway in Brooklyn, near Jackson. The girl’s race begins at 1:30 and the boy’s race at 2:30. Cedar Spring’s runner Connor Mora, who finished second overall in the boy’s Division II race at Benzie Central High School, will be the only Cedar Springs male runner advancing to state finals.

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Emmorey named GLIAC runner of the year


S-Tyler-Emmorey-headshotGrand Valley State sophomore Tyler Emmorey, of Cedar Springs, was recently named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s cross country runner of the year, after winning the 8K league championship in 24:38 and leading the Lakers to their eighth consecutive team title. He earned a second-place finish at the Michigan Intercollegiates in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Oct. 9 with a time of 25:09.

Emmorey, a 2007 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, also received the honor of being named NCAA Cross-Country All-American in November 2008. He is the son of Nace and Michelle Emmorey, of Cedar Springs.

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Chargers find success at Big Red invite


S-CTA-cross-countryThe Creative Technologies Academy cross-country team competed in the Muskegon Big Red Invite at McGraft Park this past Saturday.  Perfect weather and a fast course helped push the Chargers to some new personal best marks.

The boys team placed 7th, edging out Ravenna by two points. Kyle Biddlecome earned medal honors with a time of 19:33.  CJ Bouck continued a strong senior season with a solid finish as well.  Also scoring for the Chargers were Jeff Spicer, Jeremiah Wortz, and Andre Winters.

The Lady Chargers had two individuals earn medals. Senior Erin Willis set another new school-best time of 22:42, earning 18th place.  Sister Ashton Willis ran a personal best time of 23:45, finding a 30th place finish.  Grace VanEnk rounded out the scoring for CTA in the 40th position.

“It was an extremely successful day for us Saturday,” commented Coach Verwey. “We had numerous personal best times, earned three medals, and were even complimented for our enthusiasm, hard work, and sportsmanship by some of the other teams. The coaches are very satisfied with the outcome.”

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CTA cross country makes strides


The Creative Technology Academy cross country team competed in two challenging meets this past week. On Saturday, August 29, the team traveled up to Benzie Central High School to participate in the “Eldon Moss Cross Country Invitational” and on Wednesday, September 2, the Kent City Coed 10k Relay Invite.

SCTAcrosscountry1“This was an intense week of cross country for the team,” said Coach Gerry Verwey.  “Saturday’s meet featured 17 schools, many of whom were state championship contenders.  Wednesday’s meet pitted us against six other schools much larger than our own, including some division one competition.”

At the Benzie Central Invitational, freshman Grace VanEnk broke the girl’s school record in a time of 23:57, only to have senior Erin Willis break that mark, the following Wednesday, at Kent City with a time of 23:48. The Charger girls team features a dynamic top three with VanEnk, Willis, and twin Ashton Willis, that any new program would dream to have. Along with freshman Esther Hubbard and senior Cassie Dille, the Lady Chargers are looking to really turn some heads this season. “The girls have really come together as a team after the Benzie meet and have set their sights on some big teams and big goals,” added Coach Verwey.

-S-CTAThe girls finished 9th at the Benzie Invite with 224 points, one point behind Lake City.

The boy’s squad also found success at Benzie. All seven of the runners ran new personal best times, with the top four all within 13 seconds of each other. They placed 10th out of 18 teams competing. The boys were lead by strong performances from junior Kyle Biddlecome and senior CJ Bouck.  “Kyle and CJ are looking the strongest I’ve ever seen them, noted Verwey. “They are definitely showing that they will not back down during a race.”

CTA’s upcoming competitions include the Big Red Invite at Muskegon on September 12 and a meet at Tri County on September 15.

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