“Just like the boys, we enjoyed some great individual results too,” said WMC girls coach Kevin Aardema.
The Warriors were led in the varsity race by Logan Williams who finished in 10th place overall with a time of 20:01. Josie Aardema clocked a season best in the race while Leah Sweetman logged her second personal best in the past seven days.
“We had three runners place in the top 25,” coach Aardema said. “I was confident that we would place well today, so we are very pleased with sixth place in this meet.”
The Warriors running season continues with the GMAA “City Meet” this Friday at University Park Golf Course in Muskegon.
WMC boys finished 11th
The Western Michigan Christian boys cross country team placed 11th of 27 scoring teams at the Portage Invitational.
"Today was a great day for cross country, probably the best day of the season so far,” said WMC boys coach Greg Gould. “But, the thing that really made it special was the focus these young men brought today. We ran incredible as a team and individually, six of the seven varsity runners ran either personal or seasonal bests today.
“We were led by Eli Rotman, who has been our most consistent first runner all season, and was 55th today. But, I want to recognize Andrew Plaisier for a new personal best of 18:34.1. I know he has been working hard and maybe wondering when the performance was going to happen, today was that day."
GH boys finish 11th at Portage Invite
The Grand Haven boys cross country team had their best performance of the 2016 season and their best run at the Portage Invite since 2011 on Saturday. The Buccaneers finished 11th overall, ninth among Division 1 schools.
“This was a tough day for us, because it was their third race in seven days,” said Grand Haven coach John Tarr. “We had homecoming this week, so I expected them to be tired and distracted, but these guys all ran great races today.”
Jack Nicholson finished fifth individually in a field of 300 runners, clocking a personal record of 15 minutes, 47 seconds. The time was the highest at Portage for any Grand Haven runner since 2010 and places him among the top 10 division 1 runners in the state.
“You can’t score this well without a guy like Jack. He’s the best,” added Tarr.
Eric Johnson (16:40), Quentin Couvelaire (16:55), Dominic Hentemann (17:00) and Aidan Martin (17:07) made up the rest of the Bucs scoring team. The boys all ran strong from the start with their first mile splits ranging from 4:54 to 5:15.
Coach Tarr praised the boy’s training, “I was pleased that Couvelair, Henetemann and Johnson moved up 10 and 20 spots throughout the race. It shows that our mileage is paying off and that they can sustain these paces for a prolonged period.”
Dominic Weatherwax and Tom Stock rounded out the varsity squad with times of 17:07 and 17:18, respectively.
“Both Weatherwax and Stock ran great races by staying with our pack,” Tarr added. “This was a great day for us to run against the best teams in the state and finish this well. It was a tremendous team effort.”
Haven girls finish eighth
The Grand Haven girls cross country team came away in eight place with 281 points out of 45 teams. Leading the way for the Bucs was Gabby Hentemann with a time of 18:38, placing her 12th overall. Eliza Lowe continued her impressive senior season placing 23rd (19:02), while Abby Buitenhuis (19:50), Meadow White (20:04), and Kelsie Bovee (20:06) rounded out the scoring for Grand Haven.
Kirsten Prelesnik, the sixth runner for the Bucs, ran a lifetime personal record of 20:09.
“The girls ran well on Saturday considering it was our third race is seven days, including an emotional conference race on Tuesday,” said Grand Haven girls coach Scott Przystas. “Gabby ran in fourth place overall in the race up until about 800 meters to go and the wheels fell off a bit, but still finished a solid 12th. It was the fastest and most aggressive she had run all season.
“There were three of the top runners in the state in the race and Gabby proved she could run with them. She'll learn from this and come back stronger. I look forward to watching her compete with them in the future.
“Eliza has run 1:00 faster in the last week than she has been all four years of cross country. She is in the midst of reaping the rewards of all the training she has done over the years. She still has another level yet, and I can't wait for her to realize that. Abby's mark is a season best time. She is continuing to improve each week and will be a key 3-4 runner as we head into the championship season.”
Junior varsity: In the junior varsity race, the Bucs placed second out of 32 teams, with freshman Jenna Ray running a season-best time of 20:52, placing 11th overall.