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Two cross country girls qualify for regionals

The JV Lady Red Hawks cross country team all medaled at the Go Out on Top Invite.

The Lady Red Hawks took to their home course one last time this season for pre-regional action on Saturday, October 24.  “Words cannot express how proud I am of the ladies who ran at pre-regionals. We were in one of the toughest regions out there and it was our goal to have the team at least get fourth and slide into regionals,” said Coach Melinda Stressman. The team ended up finishing sixth out of eight teams. 

Danika Fessenden finished first for the Red Hawks in a time of 20:05 (18th overall) followed closely by Annalise Elliott (20:10, 21st).  Molly Bentley and Ally Ladd were next to cross the finish line for the Red Hawks finishing 25th and 26th at 20:53.00 and 20:53.30 respectively.  Isabel VanDusen ran a breakthrough race running her lifetime best of 21:30 (36th). Addyson Brown and Laina Payne did a great job of moving up throughout the race and keeping the gaps small finishing 21:44 (39th) and 21:50 (41st). 

Danika Fessenden and Annalise Elliott qualified to advance to run at regionals which will be held at Benzie Central High School on October 31.  Bentley and Ladd were only two spots away from qualifying. 

“This team has come a long way and has put in the work all summer and fall and to tell them we didn’t make it in as a whole was tough,” said Coach Stressman.  “I thought we ran so good and I couldn’t have asked for anyone to run better than they did. They have done so well working together and improving individually.” 

While the varsity girls ran at home, the JV girls teams traveled to Benzie Central High School for the Go Out On Top Invite on Saturday, October 24. It was a day of lifetime personal and seasonal bests for many of them.  Cedar Springs took second out of six teams with each of the Cedar Springs girls medaling. 

Some highlights include Larissa McGrath, who had a lifetime personal best of 21:05, finished 6th; Hannah Reed, with a PR of 21:36, was 9th; Paige Marsman with a season record of 22:45 (21st), Haylie Terrien with a PR of 22:54 (23rd), and Madison Golliver who ran her lifetime best of 23:17 (26th).

“Across the board our ladies ran huge lifetime and seasonal PRs. I wish we could have been there, but I want to give a huge thanks to Coach Jeff Brazier for volunteering his time on a Saturday to coach the cross country team,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.

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Girls finish third in OK Gold conference

The Varsity Lady Red Hawks cross country team took third in the OK Gold.

The girls cross country team traveled to Thornapple Kellogg High School to run in the OK Gold championship meet on October 20.  “Our ladies accomplished the goal we wanted to hit in the final meet. We were tied for 3rd going in.  I told the ladies go for that number three spot and that was their goal. They got it by 2 points,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.

In the varsity race, Ally Ladd, Danika Fessenden, and Annalise Elliott got out in a great spot and held on to their positions with Elliott finishing first for the Red Hawks in a time of 20:47. Molly Bentley moved up in the race towards the end and closed in on a lot of girls, knocking down some points.  Laina Payne ran smart and moved up as well. Also running well were Kelsi Green and Addyson Brown for the varsity squad.

The JV team finished second out of four teams.  Larissa McGrath and Isabel VanDusen finished in the number two and three spots and Haylie Terrien ran her lifetime personal best of 22:54 finishing 23rd.

Danika Fessenden, Annalise Elliott, and Ally Ladd each made 2nd team all conference.

“I’m so proud of these wonderful ladies. This is a very tough conference but we met our goal and are looking forward to making more moves next year,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.

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Cross country boys and girls with amazing runs at Shepherd

L to R: Molly Bentley, Larissa McGrath, and Lily Howland running for the varsity girls. Courtesy photo.

The girls and boys traveled to Shepherd on Saturday, September 28, for the Shepherd Bluejay Invite. Despite rain and muddy conditions, the course was fast and both teams ran some great times with almost everyone either running a personal best or season best. 

On the boys’ side of things, both the varsity and JV squads finished as runner-up out of 22 teams competing in the large school/elite division with 15 of 17 runners finishing with season bests, seven of which were all-time bests. 

For the varsity and placing in the top 10 were Corey Bowers (4th) and Jaydon Moleski (10th) each running their season bests of 16:07 and 16:25 respectively.  Also securing medals were Dilan Sargent (27th, 16:50, season record), Gavin Braciak (38th, 17:09, season record), and Daniel Vermulm (39th, 17:10). Rounding out the varsity with some great performances were Austin Mann (69th, 17:53) and Carter Moleski (74th, 18:00, season record).

The JV team had an equally impressive day with each boy running either a season best or personal best. Freshman Clayton Akerman came in 2nd overall at 17:50 running a new personal best by 55 seconds. Espen Wood (4th, 18:06, personal best) and Cayden Steinebach (5th, 18:10, personal best) got experience as front runners taking away some huge PRs along with it. Ben Mallory (38th, 19:17) came away with a new 51 second PR. Justin Voskuil also ran his season best placing 45th in a time of 19:30. Freshman Eli  Malon broke into the 19s running a 19:40 and placed 50th. Both running their season bests were Gabe Minnich (54th, 19:45) and Caleb Menefee (60th, 19:53). Matthew McQueen (148th) had a lifetime PR by almost 2 minutes at 21:44 and Jonathan Reed (159th) took off over 1 minute from his best time finishing at 22:09.

“Our goal for this meet was to get out fast, get in position, and see how well we could hold on. An aggressive race plan is never the easy one to execute, but it worked in our favor and we came away with season-best performances from nearly every member of the team. This experience will bode well going into the Portage Invite next weekend—Michigan’s biggest cross-country event,” said coach Justin Jones.

Not to be outdone, the varsity girls also took to the course where each of them either ran a personal record or season record for the day. Ally Ladd placed 55thand was just shy of the 21 minute barrier running a 21:06 and setting a new PR. Danika Fessenden finished 69th, also setting a new PR by running a 21:18.  Coming in next for the Red Hawks were Isabel VanDusen (98th, 22:15) earning her season best, Larissa McGrath (113th, 22:52) running her new personal best, Molly Bentley (114th,  22:54.4) running her new personal best, Lily Howland (115th, 22:54.6) running her season record, and Tonya Tepin also running her season best placing 117th coming in at 22:57.  As a whole, the varsity team finished 17th out of 21 teams.

The entire JV squad ran either season bests or personal bests finishing 11th out of 16th teams. Alexis Wood (40th, 23:22) and Jade Yowtz (55th, 24:03) both ran their PRs with Jade shaving off over 3 minutes from her previous best time this season. Placing 72nd was Madison Golliver running a 24:39, her season best.  Next for the ladies was Cloe Shoffner (73rd, 24:40) running her new personal best, Lauren Lett (108th, 26:37), and Isabella Smith (125th, 27:25) rounding out the team with her new personal best.

“These girls continue to amaze not only myself but spectators, parents, and other coaches/teams. Going in knowing Shepherd’s course and how fast it was, I was still blown away at how fast our girls were as a whole. Despite the rain and muddy conditions, the course and competition ran just as fast. I’m still stoked about our girls. They are really moving up and the positive energy is improving each week. They work hard and are an amazing group,” said coach Melinda Stressman.

 The Red Hawks will travel to Portage where they will compete in the Portage Invite on Saturday, October 5.  

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