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Cross Country boys finish seventh at regionals

Cross Country boys finish seventh at regionals
The Cedar Springs cross country boys finished seventh at regionals last weekend.

Bowers qualifies for state

The Cedar Springs cross country boys’ team and two girls competed in the LP Region 01-1 MHSAA regionals held at Buckley High School.  There was a change in course two days prior to the previously scheduled regionals to be held at Benzie Central moved due to a COVID outbreak there.  The Red Hawks are certainly used to rolling with changes this season so stepped up to the challenge.  The boys’ team ended up finishing seventh and Corey Bowers qualified to run at Michigan International Speedway for the state finals. 

Senior Corey Bowers (3rd) got out with the lead pack at one of the fastest paces he has seen all season. He was edged into 3rd place about half way through the race in what could be called an off day for him finishing at 15:59. Clayton Akerman (35th) raced aggressively finishing at 17:11. Senior Austin Mann (48th) finished off his career with one of his strongest races from start to finish in a time of 17:31. Espen Wood (57th, 18:10) capped off his season on a high note with arguably his strongest race of the season.  Eli Malon (61st, 18:26) also capped off a strong and consistent season and a big jump from last year to this year racing as the team’s fifth runner with Carter Moleski (63rd, 18:28) close behind. Gabe Minnich (64th, 18:30) got a call the morning of the race that he would be racing and stepped up and competed with varsity boys from some of the biggest and best teams in the state. His experience was an important one that will bode will going into the post season next year.

“It was almost destiny that the depth of our JV team would come into play in a big way this season. Over the week leading up to this meet, three of our athletes who had earned a chance to compete ended up not being able to due to local health department and MHSAA Return to Play guidelines. Not to mention an up-north COVID outbreak forcing us to move our race to a new course. It was a great experience for those boys to get a chance to experience the next-level competition of post-season racing,” said Coach Justin Jones.  “Our goal in this race was to make pre-meditated choices and moves during the race. We knew it would go out hard, as it does every year, and moves were not easy to make in the narrow course paths so passing with purpose and standing our ground was a major point of discussion and key during the race.”

On the girls’ side of things, Danika Fessenden and Annalise Elliott had earned spots to run in the regional meet. 

“We had two ladies who qualified for regionals. Both had their own personal goals. We knew going in it was going to be a really tough battle. We competed in one of the toughest regions on both sides. We did everything to prepare physically and mentally. Both girls competed with heart, grit, and left everything they could out there! So proud of them,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.  “With a change of course just two days prior, we made some adjustments. With the course being pretty narrow and more turns, the plan was to get out a little more aggressive and let those in front do the work and to just hang on, keep the gaps tight, and start making moves as much as possible.”

Sophomore Danika Fessenden (33rd) got with the pack she needed to get with to try and capture a spot as an individual qualifier. She finished in a time of 20:12. “She did what she had to and fought a hard battle. Even though it wasn’t the desired outcome, she ran incredible and she is hungry for better races to come,” said Coach Stressman.

Freshman Annalise Elliott (51st) finished in a time of 21:06. “Our star freshmen did amazing especially being that this is her first regional at the D1 level. While she didn’t run as she wanted to either, she never gave up and fought pretty hard to keep gaps tight and a big pack behind her coming into the finish. Not bad for a rookie,” said Coach Stressman.

Bowers will compete in the D1 state finals held at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, November 6, with a 9:30 gun time. 

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