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Spring Lake boys cross country team wins O-K Blue Conference title

Tribune Staff • Oct 19, 2016 at 11:55 PM

The Spring Lake boys cross country won the O-K Blue Conference Championship on Tuesday at their final conference meet of the season hosted by Allendale High School.

The Lakers recorded 20 points, besting second-place Grand Rapids Catholic Central (54) by 34 points. Allendale (83) finished third, while Sparta (94) came in fourth and Coopersville (121) was fifth.

Spring Lake’s conference crown is the first in the Laker boys’ program since 2001.

Sophomore Andrew Hylen finished fourth overall with a time of 16 minutes, 34.99 seconds to lead the Lakers, while his brother, Ben, finished closely behind him in seventh place with a time of 17:05.01. Junior Matt Schmidt finished eighth (17:06.00), while junior Henok Ghirmay finished ninth (17:11.96) and junior Cameron Thalhammer finished 13th (17:32.24).

For their efforts, Andrew Hylen, Ben Hylen, Matthew Schmidt, Cameron Thalhammer and Henok Ghirmay all earned first team All-Conference honors. Sophomore Matthew Vanderwall (18th place, 17:52.88) earned honorable mention All-Conference honors.

Spring Lake won all three of their conference meets this season as the newest member of the O-K Blue Conference.

"It was our goal to come into this new conference with the fire in our bellies to win it, but this was no different than how we approached every competition this season,” said Spring Lake coach Jennifer Gwinnup. “As runners, I want the guys on this team to understand that everything in life is worth doing to the best of your ability each and every time. We have a lot of talent on our team this year, but in addition to that, we have the grit required to compete.

“Our theme this year has been all about being relentless and when asked to rise to the occasion, I can expect that they will do everything in their power to make it happen. This conference win was no exception."

Laker girls finish third

The Spring Lake girls cross country team finished third at the O-K Blue Conference championship at Allendale High School.

The Lakers recorded 58 points, just behind first-place Allendale (52) and Grand Rapids Catholic Central (56).

The Lakers were led by a quartet of freshmen runners with Maggie Cooper finishing fifth overall with a time of 20:17.83; Julia Bajt finishing seventh (20:26.04); Taylor Rebone (20:27.40) finishing eighth and Rose Henke finishing 16th (21:00.40). Sophomore Kate Gilchrist finished 22nd overall (21:31.78) to round out the scoring five for Spring Lake.

Cooper, Bajt and Rebone earned first team All-Conference honors for the Lakers in their first season at the varsity level, while Henke finished as an honorable mention All-Conference finalist.

Spring Lake will run their only home meet of the season this Saturday at 10 a.m. on their new course at the high school. The following week, they will return to Allendale for their Regional meet on Oct. 29, where they hope to qualify for state.

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