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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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Boys cross country team headed to state finals

The boys cross country team took second at regionals and are headed to state finals.

The Cedar Springs Boys Cross Country team is headed to the MHSAA Division 2 State Finals. The team placed 2nd out of the 15 teams that competed at the Division 2 Regional 10 meet at Michaywe Pines Golf Course in Gaylord, Michigan, on October 27.  

The boys were led by Corey Bowers who finished 3rd overall, breaking the 16 minute barrier for the second time this season in a time of 15:59. Jaydon Moleski had the biggest personal record of the day running a 30-second lifetime best and  finishing in 6th overall in a time of 16:14. Bowers and Moleski each earned All-Regional honors. Dilan Sargent just missed his lifetime best coming in 16th overall in a time of 16:44. Austin Mann ran a personal lifetime best time of 16:53 finishing in 19th overall. Gavin Braciak had a season best time of 17:09 to finish in 29th overall. Daniel Vermulm had his second best race of the year coming in 53rd overall in a time of 17:52. Carter Moleski ran well in his first meet of this importance coming in 64th overall in a time of 18:15.

 “Our boys’ team ran a hard fought race at regionals to finish 2nd and qualify for the D2 state finals at Michigan International Speedway this weekend,” said Coach Garrett Lacy. “We lost to a phenomenal Fremont team, who is one of the best teams in the state. We are excited about our potential moving forward to the state meet next weekend as well. Chelsea and Fremont look to be the top two teams in the state at this point, but after that I see it being a hard fought battle amongst several teams for spots 3-10. We are hoping for a top 5 finish to improve upon our 10th place finish at the state meet a year ago.” 

L to R: Marjorie Hosking, Tonya Tepin, Isabel VanDusen, Lily Howland, Maggie Prins, Ally Ladd, Carolanne Merlington, and Coach Melinda Stressman.

The girls team had a great day of season and personal bests. The team placed 10th out of 14 teams. Senior Carolanne Merlington led the Lady Red Hawks and placed 31st in a time of 20:30 and earned herself a season record. Maggie Prins placed 38th with a time of 20:46 to finish out her season with a lifetime personal best. Coming in next for the Red Hawks was Tonya Tepin, who placed 57th with a time of 21:35, and  also earned herself a lifetime personal record. Continuing with the trend of earning lifetime personal bests, Isabel VanDusen kept the streak rolling placing 64th in a time of 22:03. Following closely was Lily Howland placing 68th with a time of 22:25.  Aslo achieving a lifetime personal best was Marjorie Hosking with a time of 22:47. She placed 76th.  Finishing 84th was Ally Ladd in a time of 23:04. She also earned herself a lifetime personal best.  

“I was so happy with how the girls performed. They ran hard and continued to push each other in the race to move up as it went on. We had a lot of them reach their lifetime PRs and that’s great! The course was pretty fast. We were hoping for a better place but honestly they went out and did what they were supposed to do. I’m very excited for this program. There is so much talent and they work hard, now we just have to keep applying it in the competitions more and more as we go. I’m so proud of them, they’ve really come more together as a team,” said Coach Melinda Stressman.

The boys will travel to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Saturday, November 3, and compete at 1:30 p.m. Let’s go Red Hawks!

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