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Red Hawks with impressive show at first OK Gold meet

Red Hawks with impressive show at first OK Gold meet
Eli Malon (L) and Clayton Akerman (R) battling it out at the finish line in the JV race. Courtesy photo.

The Red Hawks took to the South Christian Sports Park on September 8 for their first competition since moving into the OK Gold Conference. The varsity boys’ team narrowly took second, just 5 points out of first, to South Christian in a score of 66 to 71. Due to the conference’s concerns with health, safety competitive imbalances and conflicting Executive Orders regarding face coverings, the decision was made to put team scoring All-Conference Standings on hold and test the waters in the masks first. The boys handled the uncertainty with a mature approach and a positive attitude.

Corey Bowers (1st) took control of this race from the start finishing at 16:10. Gabe White (9th, 18:01) proved he should be right in the mix for a first-team all-conference selection this year. Austin Mann (18th, 18:31), Espen Wood (21st, 18:48) and Cayden Steinebach (22nd, 18:51) rounded out the top five with a strong pack performance. Breakout freshman thus far Jack Sherburn (33rd, 19:25) and senior leader Justin Voskuil (34th, 19:26) pushed each other to solid finishes as well.

Next up, the Red Hawk boys dominated the JV race. There were six boys in the top ten and five in the top eight. Clayton Akerman (1st , 19:01) and Eli Malon (2nd , 19:02) duked it out together at the front in the last 800 meters or so. This was a win for the first race of the year for Akerman. Gabe Minnich (6th, 19:32), Zach Reed (7th, 19:42.42), Ben Mallory (8th, 19:42.93) and Caleb Menefee (10th, 19:51) packed in and secured the win on the JV side. Eli Kleynenberg, who is back and strong, ran a smart race finishing 14th in 20:07.

In the JV overflow race, Carter Moleski (1st), brought home another win for Cedar Springs with a time of 18:44 in what was a pretty impressive solo effort. Jonathan Reed’s base training continues to pay huge dividends (3 rd , 21:08), and he was followed by new team member Alex Cole (4th, 21:31), sophomore sprinter turned XC runner Matt McQueen (5th, 21:44), gritty wrestler by trade Luke Price (15th, 23:14) and last minute addition Clayton Auwema (28th, 30:30).

The Red Hawks will host the Mini Red Hawk Invitational on Saturday, September 19, on their home course. Their competition at this meet will include Byron Center, East Grand Rapids, GR Kenowa Hills, and Rockford.

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