The Spring Lake boys cross country team claimed their second straight O-K Blue Conference championship Tuesday in as many years in the league with a stellar performance at the championship meet, earning first-team All-Conference honors for their top-four runners.
The Lakers did it with a total of 50 points, ahead of second place Sparta at 68, Allendale at 74, Comstock Park at 80, West Catholic with 98, Catholic Central at 140 and Coopersville with 175.
Andrew and Ben Hylen led the way for Spring Lake, pushing to the front of the pack over the course of a strategic race. Andrew battled for first place with Comstock Park’s Reid Parsons, who would eventually take top honors. Andrew finished second overall in 16:03.09, while Ben took third in 16:41.27.
Cameron Thalhammer lead the field for the first mile of the race, tapering off in the middle and adding a strong finish to take ninth place overall in 17:05.88
Matthew Vanderwall (13th), Callen Carrier (23rd), Will Brown (24th) and Jack Leech (25th) rounded out the Spring Lake varsity team.
The Lakers return to the course to honor their seniors in their final home meet at the Mel Hall Invitational on Saturday at 10 a.m.
SL girls take O-K Blue title
The Spring Lake girls cross country team also finished atop the O-K Blue Conference with a team score of 31 points. They finished ahead of Allendale at 40, Sparta at 90, Catholic Central at 101, West Catholic with 139, Comstock Park at 162 and Coopersville at 199.
Sophomore Julia Bajt led the way with a third-place finish in 19:56.30, ahead of Elizabeth Penrice in fourth at 20:05.67. The rest of the Laker scoring squad ran as one, with Kate Gilchrist finishing seventh (20:23.04), Eva Tilton in eighth (20:31.37) and Maddy Winberg in ninth (20:31.37). Chloe Lohman (11th), and Taylor Rebone (16th) rounded out the Spring Lake varsity seven.
Spring Lake volleyball falls to West Catholic
The Spring Lake volleyball team fell to O-K Blue Conference foe Grand Rapids West Catholic on Tuesday in four sets, 25-25, 25-21, 14-25 and 20-25.
“Poor ball control, tentative play and unforced errors took us out of the game,” Spring Lake head coach Sarah Bulthuis said. “West Catholic served tough, which caused some serve-receive errors and as a result, we were too predictable on offense. We kept the ball in play, but we did not big to our setter and sent too many free ball over.”
Stat leaders for the Lakers were: Madeline Zenas with 31 assists, 18 digs and three blocks; Jenna Core with 13 kills, five blocks and 18 digs; Lauren Hellman with seven kills, five blocks and eight digs; Abbi Perkins with six blocks and three kills; and Jencen Sabo with five kills and two blocks.
Spring Lake returns to the court for their final regular-season match at home against Comstock Park on Thursday.
Junior varsity: The Spring Lake JV team traveled to West Catholic for their final match of the season Tuesday, losing in two sets, 17-25, 12-25. Stat leaders for the match were Kate Lewkowski with two aces, four kills and four digs. Lily Garrison had four kills and two blocks. Hannah Powers had six digs. Anna Clover had two kills, six assists and six digs. Taylor Estep had two kills, four assists and two digs. Madalyn Lisman had two aces and two kills. The Lakers end their season with an overall record of 13-14-3 and 2-8 in the OK Blue.
SL diving sweeps Grand Rapids Christian
The Spring Lake swim and dive team took on conference foe Grand Rapids Christian Tuesday night, falling to the Eagles, 120-60.
The Lakers swept 1-meter diving Tuesday night with senior Audra Bialik taking first place with a score of 230.65. Junior Ellie Higgs ended up with 185.75 points for second place, while freshman Lindsey Smith finished third scoring 171.40 points. Spring Lake’s exhibition divers performed well, Senior Veronica Russell scored 165.1 points, and freshman Annika Holleman had a season best score at 118.8.
GH volleyball takes five-set thriller
The Grand Haven volleyball team took on West Ottawa Tuesday night in an O-K Red Conference tilt, defeating the Panthers in five sets.
It was a roller-coaster game for the Bucs, who used 15 different players over the course of the five-set match. Grand Haven started strong, but couldn’t sustain success against the Panthers. The Bucs took Set 1 convincingly (25-14), dropped a close Set 2 (23-25), and Set 3 (21-25), before bouncing back to dominate Set 4 (25-13) to force a dramatic fifth-set (15-13).
“This was a crazy, unique and interesting night,” Grand Haven head coach Aaron Smaka said. “It was a good win over a good conference team.”
The win showcased the rare depth of the Grand Haven squad, showcasing both their youth in clutch situations and their ability to sub around it when needed.
“We used two different lineups that each won games for us,” Smaka said. “Our passing was good throughout the night, but I think we have inconsistencies that at times cost us some points. The beauty of this team is that we have other people ready to step up at any given time.
“I think what we are finding out is the depth of our team is a huge plus for us. The past two weeks we have played 15 kids and a lot of kids are getting opportunities. We will see what happens, I’m not sure if there will be one lineup that we go with for the postseason. If there is, we will go with it, if not we have the depth to do that, too.”
Ashley Slater led the Bucs on offense with 19 kills, seven aces and 13 digs. Baby Hang took the lead on defense with 30 digs, while Ashlyn Hall lent a hand with a team-high 27 assists, followed by Samantha Boove with 21.
Olivia Boeve and Lauren Yonker both recorded two blocks to lead the team, while Boeve finished second in kills with 13.
“Ashley Slater had one of her best nights of the season,” Smaka said. “She passed really well in serve receive. Avolyn (Hall) had probably the best night since she came back from injury and Baby (Hang) did great on defense and serve receive.
“Sam Boove did a great job in the fourth and fifth set running the offense, and Olivia (Boeve) was great on offense tonight.”
The Bucs return to the court Thursday back at West Ottawa to take on a double-header with Hudsonville and Caledonia. They sit at 30-15 on the season.
Junior varsity: In their last match of the season, the Grand Haven junior varsity team fell to West Ottawa in straight sets, 25-18 and 25-17. The Buccaneers finish the season at 26-17-4. Ashlyn Pahl recorded eight kills to lead the attack, while Olivia Dault added 20 digs, Olivia Lovett added 14 assists and Jasmine Gard recorded three aces.
Fruitport volleyball beats Muskegon
The Fruitport volleyball team took on O-K Black Conference foe Muskegon on Tuesday, defeating the Big Reds in three sets, 25-6, 25-14, 25-13.
Jordyn Carlyle led the Trojans from the service line with six aces, while Rachel Paulsen led in kills with eight. Haleigh Winskas and Maddie Wescott each recorded one block to lead the team. Kailey Carmean led the way with 21 assists, while Winskas anchored the defense with six digs.
The Trojans return to the court on Thursday for a home tri-match.