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From Spartan to Sparta, Boys Cross Country races with heart

The Red Hawk boys cross country teams split competitions on Friday, September 17, with one group traveling to Michigan State University while the rest of the team took on West Michigan rivals in Sparta. 

Like many Cedar Springs students and athletes, the runners traveled with heavy hearts after the passing of Kevin Martens, a middle school teacher and track coach. Martens had played a pivotal role in the development of many current team members. 

At the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing, the competing Red Hawks found themselves in perhaps the largest-scale race since the 2019 season. Leading the pack once again was Espen Wood with a time of 18:12. Seniors Gabe White and Carter Moleski finished within five seconds of each other to break into the top 100 of the race. Fellow senior Gabe Minnich battled for a finishing time of 19:01, while freshman Jack Sherburn rounded out scoring for the Red Hawks. The team finished 19th overall.

“One thing I know about our boys is that effort has never been an issue,” said head coach Justin Jones. “This time around we didn’t run very efficiently and used most of our gas in the first mile. Our boys walked away better runners because of it. Sometimes ‘bad’ races can be a gift in disguise.” 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, the remaining Red Hawks toed the line at the annual Sparta Invitational. Similar to East Lansing, the heat was apparent in West Michigan, but the runners pressed on. Sophomores Eli Kleynenberg and Zach Reed crossed the line in 12th and 13th respectively, while freshman Quinton Bell earned a top-20 spot. 

Next up is the Cedar Springs Invitational, hosted at the Cedar View elementary course on September 25. The Red Hawks will be seeking fast times on familiar territory. 

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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