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Prep Roundup: Grand Haven cross country teams finish runner-up

Tribune Staff • Aug 29, 2017 at 11:38 PM

The Grand Haven boys and girls cross country teams both recorded runner-up finishes at Tuesday’s 20th annual Don Anderson Trail Run at Grand Haven High School.

Anderson, a former cross country coach and high school principal at Grand Haven, was in attendance to help start the meet. Coach Anderson extended his gratitude to the coaches and runners for continuing the meet and creating such a strong program. Anderson started the cross country program in 1958 and coached until 1969 when he was appointed school principal.

“It’s always a great pleasure for me to see Don out there,” said Grand Haven boys cross country coach John Tarr. “Former head coaches Tom Laughlin and Greg Russick respected Don enough to start this meet and name it after him. I can still hear Don in the press box announcing our track meets, and I miss hearing his deep baritone voice reverberate throughout Buccaneer Stadium.”

JACK BE QUICK

The Grand Haven boys cross country team finished the event with 45 points, just five points behind first-place Fremont.

Holland Black River finished third (68), Allendale (79) finished fourth and the West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science (148) finished fifth.

Senior standout Jack Nicholson took home top individual honors as meet champion with a time of 16 minutes, 8 seconds. Nicholson won the event while being pushed the entire race by Fremont’s Ben Schmidt. Schmidt tried several times to pull away and take the lead from Nicholson, only to be reined in by the Buccaneers’ lead runner. Both runners came on to the track neck-and-neck until Nicholson pulled away in the last 100 meters to win by three seconds.

“Schmidt is a tough runner, but that may have been one of Jack’s best races to date,” Tarr added. “He learned a lot from the Portage race two weeks ago. He let the leaders pull away at Portage and didn’t respond. However, today the Fremont kid surged a few times, but Jack kept his head and went with him to have a chance to strike for the win in the end.”

The Buccaneers also had strong performances by Andrew Ireland (17:24), Aidan Martin (17:34) and Cole Rowden (17:59), to stay close to Fremont, but it wasn’t enough to edge the Packers in the team scoring.

“Fremont has a great team and great coach in Cliff Sommers, but we struggled with our five through 10 guys today,” added Tarr. “We didn’t compete well in those positions and let the meet get away from us. We can forget about the times at this point, because we have one of the toughest courses in the area, but we just didn’t compete well enough in the back of our lineup to win despite the fact that we had the potential to win.”

Kyle Eveland (18:30), Dominic Weatherwax (18:33) and Jared Franke (18:38) rounded out the team scoring for the Buccaneers.

“We have 10 days to dwell on this meet and make some corrections until we run at West Ottawa,” Tarr added. “We’re going to do some tough workouts in the next 10 days and focus on closing gaps. This can be a great team, but we need to get tougher, more competitive, and put together some consistent performances.”

GABBY THE GREAT

The Grand Haven girls cross country team also took runner-up honors at Tuesday’s event, finishing with 41 points.

Allendale took top honors with 23 points, while Fremont finished third with 75 and Holland Black River finished fourth with 85 points.

Grand Haven junior standout Gabby Hentemann led the race from start to finish with a time of 19:28, while Abby Buitenhuis (21:14) finished sixth. Emily Mattson (21:26) finished 10th, Kelsie Bovee (21:27) finished 11th and Brianna Jhamb (21:49) finished 15th to round out the scoring for the Bucs.

"This was a good test early in the season on a true cross country course with sand, hills, trails and long grass,” said Grand Haven girls cross country coach Scott Przystas. “This race helped us to see what we need to work on. We have a lot of depth with seven runners medalling with top 20 finishes and two others were right on the cusp.

“I was happy that Gabby took control of the race and put it away early. She went out in a 5:30 time split for the first mile and no one had a chance. I was bummed with our Nos. 2-7 runners who did not put up much of a fight for the top five spots until it was too late. We need to learn to race our competition and not necessarily be concerned with splits, because all cross country courses are different.

“Bri Jhamb did a nice job in the second half of the race. We are a little nicked up at the moment with some kids sick or injured, so we'll take some time to rest up before the West Ottawa Invitation next week.”

SL soccer blanked by GR Catholic Central

The Spring Lake boys soccer team traveled to Grand Rapid Catholic Central on Tuesday for their first O-K Blue Conference match of the season.

The Lakers held strong with the defending Division 3 state champions, but a goal with 30 seconds left in the opening half by the host Cougars deflated Spring Lake’s upset attempt.

In the second half, Grand Rapids Catholic Central added two more goals and held the Lakers at bay for a 3-0 shutout win.

“We played a great first half, and we had some chances to score, but we gave up a goal with 30 seconds left in the half,” said Spring Lake head coach Jeremy Thelen. “That killed our momentum and allowed them to play more defensively against us in the second half.

“We played a good second half, but we weren’t mentally tough enough to overcome that first goal. I think we just internalize our frustrations and drop our heads too much when we get down in a match. We need to work on playing through adversity better and not letting one goal turn into two or three.”

Despite the disappointing result, Thelen was happy with the steady improvement of some of the starters on the team.

“Clayton Glasgow is growing as a sophomore,” he said. “He was under pressure for most of the game and he remained solid and made some nice saves. Evan Ernst has played really well in the back for us, too.

“We have good players; we just have to work on communicating more out on the field and working together as a team. We need a leader to step up and say, ‘I’m not going to let this happen on my watch’, and take responsibility when the team is a bad spot. It’s still early in the season, but that’s something we need to improve on.”

The Lakers return to the pitch Thursday as they travel to take on O-K Blue Conference rival Allendale at 4 p.m.

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