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Cedar Springs cross country boys OK White conference champs

The Cedar Springs boys cross country team won the OK White conference title last week. Courtesy photo.

History was made last week as the Cedar Springs Cross Country boys captured their first ever OK White Championship, and their first conference championship since they won the OK Blue in 2012.  

The team competed in their fourth and final conference meet of the season on October 17 at Riverside Park. Cedar Springs managed to hold off Forest Hills Central team in a 38-40 win and completed a four meet sweep by taking first place in all four conference jamborees this season.

Corey Bowers led from start to finish and finished in 1st place overall in a time of 16:26. Dilan Sargent, Jaydon Moleski, and Austin Mann all finished within 9 seconds of each other running times of 16:50, 16:52, and 16:59. That was Mann’s first time breaking the 17-minute barrier, a new lifetime best. Daniel Vermulm was back to his normal self for the first time this season after being derailed earlier in the year due to injury. He was clutch with a 59 second season personal record (PR), an 11 second lifetime PR, to finish 13th overall in a time of 17:20. Furthermore, he finished just ahead of Forest Hills Central’s 4th and 5th men, sealing the victory for the team. Gavin Braciak had a solid race finishing in 18th place in a time of 17:32. 

Three freshmen also performed well in their first conference championship meet. Carter Moleski finished 36th in a time of 18:06. Gabe White came in 45th in 18:30 and Cayden Steinebach 47th in 18:31. Those are both lifetime bests for White and Steinebach. Caleb Menefee was 65th overall in a new lifetime best of 19:13. Justin Voskuil was 73rd overall in a new lifetime best of 19:25. Gabe Minnich was 76th overall in a new lifetime best by over a minute in a time of 19:29. Alex Nylaan finished 84th overall in a time of 19:44. Logan Douglas finished 88th overall in a time of 19:54, a new lifetime best by over 45 seconds. Sam Kleynenbeg was 104th overall in a time of 20:28.

Six Cedar Springs runners also earned all-conference honors and included Corey Bowers, Dilan Sargent, Jaydon Moleski, and Austin Mann, who all made first team all-conference. Gavin Braciak and Daniel Vermulm each made honorable mention all-conference.

The team also traveled to Chippewa Hills for the Warrior Invite on Saturday, October 20. Only the JV boys raced as the varsity team is preparing for regional action. The Red Hawks finished 7th of 14 teams and were led by Cayden Steinebach who finished 22nd in a time of 18:35. He was followed by Gabe White who finished 25th in 18:50. Caleb Menefee finished 32nd overall in a new lifetime best time of 19:09. Steinebach, White, and Menefee were all medalist for their top 50 finish. Alex Nylaan was 42nd in 19:43, Justin Voskuil 44th in 19:45, Gabe Minnich 47th in 20:02, Sam Kleynenberg 57th in 20:33, and Logan Douglas 70th in 22:28. 

“We are all proud and excited to bring home the first conference title for boys’ cross-country since 2012, first in 6 years. This was the first goal for ourselves that we set for the team at the start of the season. That being said, it is only the first step. We are now looking forward to our regional meet next weekend at Gaylord, where we will look to defend our regional championship from a year ago. We also had a meet this past Saturday where our JV team only competed, and we came away with a 7th place finish out of 14 teams, so that was a great end to the season for those guys as well. All fifteen of our boys finished the season with personal records under 20 minutes for the 5k race distance, an amazing accomplishment showing the depth of our boys program,” said Coach Garrett Lacy.

On the girls’ side of things, the Lady Red Hawks finished 6th of 7th teams in the OK White Conference with a score of 161. Almost every girl had a personal record (PR) or at least a seasonal best at the meet.  

Maggie Prins started out strong to stick with a good pack. She had a PR of 21:02 to place 25th. Carolanne Merlington, who is back from an injury (2nd meet back), placed 39th, running a time of 22:03. Bringing up her teammate, Lily Howland came in 40th with a time of 22:07 earning herself a PR. Isabel VanDusen placed 42nd with a time of 22:08. Tonya Tepin closed some gaps to help out and was 44th running a PR of 22:10. Marjorie Hosking placed 61st and ran a 22:58, which is a huge PR for her as well. Next up was Madison Golliver who also ran a PR of 23:17 to place 67th. Next for the Lady Red Hawks was Paige Marsman. She closed some gaps placing 70th and ran a 23:25, which is 2 minutes faster than her seasonal best this year. Antonia Eigemann placed 75th with a time of 23:39 and Hannah Helton finished 109th running a time of 32:29.

“I was super pleased with each of our girls,” said Coach Melinda Stressman. “Most of them had lifetime PRs or seasonal bests. It was a nice and flat course and the weather wasn’t too bad. They managed very well with how they competed as a team. Placing 6th overall in our conference isn’t too bad, but I know we can be better than that. These girls are going to keep improving and make some waves if they keep competing like that.” 

At the Warrior Invite, Carolanne Merlington led the team out. She placed 33rd and ran a time of 22:35. Marjorie Hosking was next running a time of 23:10 to place 42nd. Antonia Eigemann finished 46th at 23:25. Paige Marsman was next, running a time of 23:32, and still looking strong. Each of these girls earned medals for placing in the top 50. Madison Golliver ran 23:43 to place 53rd. After coming back from an injury and being out all season, Jade Yowtz ran a 26:02 to place 82nd. Mikayla Caruthers coming back as well from being out all season ran 26:25 placing 83rd. Emily Caldwell also coming back from an injury ran 27:17 to place 86th.

“For most of them running, this was their last meet. The weather was pretty crazy but I’m proud of the girls for sticking through the race. We had two runners come back for their last race of the season due to injuries. Jade Yowtz and Mikayla Caruthers worked together and ran exceptionally well despite not being able to do much training beforehand. Emily Caldwell ran pretty good as well coming back from an injury in her other sport she plays in the fall,” said Stressman.

Best of the luck to the Red Hawks as they travel to Gaylord on Saturday, October 27, for their regional meet. 


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