Rockford took the conference title with 36 points, in front of second-place Caledonia with 61 and Grand Haven with 70.
“It’s hard for me to believe that we put six guys under 17 minutes and finished third, but that’s life in the O-K Red,” said Grand Haven coach John Tarr. “It is more believable when you realize that Rockford is fourth in the state and Caledonia is sixth.”
The two split the overall conference championship based on regular season and championship meet results, Grand Haven took third in the season-long metric.
Jack Nicholson and Eric Johnson took home All-Conference honors, while Dominic Hentemann earned an Honorable Mention selection.
Nicholson finished first for the Bucs and third overall clocking a time of 16 minutes, 2 seconds. Johnson came in at 14th overall with a time of 16:40, just behind Quentin Covelaire who took 13th in 16:39. Henemann ran a 16:50, earning him 19th overall.
Also scoring for the Bucs was Dominic Weatherwax in 21st, Aidan Martin in 23rd and Tom Stock in 29th.
“Our guys ran great tonight, all of them had season PR’s, and this is the first time since 2011 that we’ve had six runners under 17 (minutes),” added Tarr. “We keep dropping time, and I’m really looking forward to the regional next Saturday, because we haven’t peaked yet.”
The Bucs finished in first, fourth, fifth and sixth in the junior varsity meet courtesy of great runs by Andrew Ireland, Nathan Wolfis, Caleb Borns and Kyle Eveland.
GH girls finish third
The Grand Haven girls team also competed at the O-K Red Conference Championship meet on Thursday, finishing third in the meet and overall season race behind West Ottawa and Rockford.
Gabby Hentemann led the Bucs, placing third overall with a time of 18:19, earning her All-Conference honors. Eliza Lowe finished in sixth place, giving her All-Conference honors as well. Rounding out the scoring team was Abby Buitenhuis in 18th, Kelsie Bovee in 20th and Kirsten Prelesnik in 25th.
Bovee earned an All-Conference Honorable Mention honors for placing in all three conference meets.
“We had an outside shot to win the conference today, but we needed to run well and have things fall our way,” said Grand Haven girls coach Scott Przystas. “Unfortunately, we ran decent as a team, but still ended up where we were projected.
“Gabby went out with the lead group from the start and led the race until three miles, but struggled slamming the door to her competition. I'm confident she will be able to do that at the next meet. Eliza continued her impressive senior season with All Conference honors. She ran a great race and she still has another gear left that she's learning she has.
“Abby and Kelsie got a little too comfortable in their second mile and played catch up in the second half of the race. They are going to be key to our success at regionals. Kirsten had a lifetime PR race. She finally broke 20 minutes, which is a huge barrier and will be a continuing contributor at the regional meet next week.”
Coach Przystas is looking forward to the girls’ next showcase at the regional meet.
“Our regional is very tough,” he added. “There are five teams that are separated by 40 points, so it will be very tough to get out of. These girls haven't hit their peak yet, so we are going to go back to the basics and make sure we are well rested and recovered this next week and be ready to have the race of the season next week at Allendale.”
GH volleyball finishes 2-0 at conference tournament
The Grand Haven volleyball team began the second round of O-K Red Conference play on Thursday with back-to-back wins.
The Buccaneers finished 2-0 with wins over Hudsonville (25-12, 25-21, 25-20) and West Ottawa (25-14, 25-9, 25-21).
“We passed really well tonight,” said Grand Haven coach Aaron Smaka. “Our serve-receive was great, and it was one of our best defensive efforts of the year. When you take care of the ball, serve well and pass well, you make everything else a lot easier for yourself. We were able to put ourselves in good positions on the attack, because we played so well defensively.”
Morgan Ross recorded 24 kills, three aces, 15 digs and seven blocks to lead the Bucs (42-8, 6-2 O-K Red), while Olivia Boeve added 13 kills, five aces and 19 digs. Kate Cole had 61 assists, 18 digs and five blocks, while Sophia Newhouse led the team with 41 digs.
Lauren Jonker added six kills with a .556 hitting percentage, while Avolyn Lepo added seven kills and six blocks.
“Morgan was hungry tonight and she did a little bit of everything for us,” Smaka added. “Olivia served well and had some big kills, Katie had some really nice assists and big blocks.
“I thought Lauren did a really nice job, too. She played hard and some big kills in that match against West Ottawa for us. Avolyn played strong in the middle. She blocked a lot of shots and made it difficult for the other team at times.”
The Bucs continue the second round of conference play with a critical clash at Hudsonville on Saturday. Grand Haven will face Rockford and Caledonia at the event. The Rams and Scots currently sit atop the conference standings ahead of the Bucs, so wins over the two title contenders would put Grand Haven right back into the race with only a four more matches left in the regular season.
SL spikers fall to Comstock Park
The Spring Lake volleyball team fell to host Comstock Park in four sets on Thursday.
The Lakers (19-25, 25-20, 22-25, 16-25) took set two, but couldn’t close out a narrow decision in set three before dropping a decisive fourth set.
Senior Olivia Grimmer recorded 14 kills and added 21 digs to lead the Lakers (12-18, 5-7 O-K Blue), while fellow senior Isabel Donnelly added 14 kills and five blocks.
CoCO McKeough led the team in aces with three, while Caitie Estep led the team in assists with 42.
Junior varsity: Spring Lake defeated Comstock Park, 25-19 and 25-12. Abbi Perkins led the way for the Lakers with 11 kills and two blocks, while Taylor Colquitt had five kills and five aces. Julia Clover added three kills and 20 digs, while Madeline Zenas had 20 assists and two aces.
The junior varsity squad ends their season at 33-3 overall record and finished first in the O-K Blue Conference with a 12-0 conference mark.
Freshmen: Spring Lake defeated Comstock Park, 25-9 and 25-11.