“This was Ashley’s first individual victory at a varsity meet,” Russick said. “She ran with the leaders for the first mile and a half before taking charge.”
The Bucs had two others in the top 10, including Emily Walwood in ninth (21:42), and Sara Jacobs in 10th (21:44).
McKenna Mahacek finished strong in the last 500 meters to take 12th, and Taylor DeWitt was 17th.
The Bucs’ ‘A’ team flourished in Allendale, taking seven of the top nine places. Senior Julia Stock was first overall for Grand Haven, clocking in at 18:57.
“She ran a brilliant race, confidently finishing under 19 minutes for the third consecutive race,” Russick said.
Senior Priscilla VanHeest was second at 19:23, while Roxy Glasser ran to a lifetime best of 19:27 and took third.
Lindy Vallier was fourth at 19:54, and Brooke Spruit rounded out the Bucs’ scoring by taking sixth at 20:03.
The Bucs’ boys received a first-place run by senior Ryan Duff in chilly conditions in Allendale, helping his team edge out O-K Red Conference rival Grandville 33-38 to take the team title.
Duff finished in 16 minutes, 19.1 seconds, while the Bucs’ No. 2 runner, Schalk Vanniekerk was right on his heels, taking second at 16:27.1.
“Schalk asked me at the beginning of the race if he could run with Ryan, and I said, ‘Well I know you can, but are you going to?’ And impressively, he did,” said Grand Haven coach John Tarr. “This is what Saturdays are for, experimenting, and today it paid off.”
Justin Pippel pulled ahead of a pair of Grandville runners with 100 meters left to take fourth overall at 16:49.8, which helped secure the win for the Bucs. Other finishers for Grand Haven were Turner Sale (12th, 17:15); Zach Duff (14th, 17:36); Dylar Tarr (15th, 17:39); and Brady Durant (17th, 17:47).
In the junior varsity race, Sam Schurkamp won the individual championship in 17:48.9, helping the Bucs take first in the team scoring.
SL GIRLS THIRD AT CARSON CITY
Spring Lake’s varsity girls cross country team placed a respectable third at Saturday’s Don Baese Invitational in Carson City.
Traverse City Central won the meet with 82 points, beating out runner-up Cedar Springs (103) and the Lakers (136).
Junior Brittany Beeler led the Lakers with a sixth-place finish at 18:55.
“Brittany ran a fantastic race and is establishing herself as one of the strongest runners in the area,” said Spring Lake coach Aaron Andres. “She looks to continue on her times and is working hard to get there.”
The Lakers had a trio of runners flirt with breaking into the 19-minute range, as senior Cory Cook clocked in at 20:03 (23rd), Carlyn Arteaga finished at 20:05 (25th), and Ashley Warner recorded a time of 20:22 (31st).
Jaime Kossuth also placed 51st for the Lakers in 20:56.
The Lakers will look for another top finish at the second Lakes Eight Jamboree at Fruitport on Tuesday.