In his second year at the helm of the Buccaneers’ boys track and field team, coach Joe Nelson likes what he sees.
Grand Haven has plenty of talent and is making steady improvement.
“I like the direction the program is going,” Nelson said. “I like a lot of our young kids and how they’re working, and the veteran kids we have are going to be extremely helpful to them.”
Leading the way for the Bucs is senior Brandt Gruizinga, who will sprint, but is best known for his proficiency in the pole vault. Gruizinga was a 14-foot vaulter last year who qualified for the Division 1 state meet in that event.
Junior Chase VanHoff will throw both the shot put and the discus for the Bucs. Aaron Cummings, also a junior, is one of the team’s top sprinters, while Kyle Funk and Joe Sherman — a pair of cross country stand-outs — are leading the way for the Bucs’ distance runners.
“I’m pretty excited about those two seniors,” Nelson said of Funk and Sherman. “Chase looks good right now as far as his development. I have great expectations of him in the throws, both the shot and the discus.
“We like some of your younger kids as well. They’re doing a nice job as far as keeping up with everybody and learning how to do things.”
LAKERS TO LEAN ON SENIORS
Spring Lake graduated most of its top runners off last year’s boys track and field team, including Austin Elliot, who qualified for the state meet in three events.
That doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare for coach Greg Brown’s team.
The Lakers will lean on several seniors this spring, including Charlie Warber, who placed third at the regional meet in the 400-meter run and narrowly missed qualifying for the state meet.
Warber will also run the 200 for the Lakers.
Senior Connor Bolthouse didn’t run track last year, but after a fantastic cross country season this past fall, Bolthouse decided to return to track, and he’ll be one of the team’s top distance runners.
Senior Noah Rick will join Warber in the 200 and the 400, while Jordan Smant is a strong shot putter for Spring Lake.
Seniors Zach Sherwood and Dan Hogan will provide depth in the running events, while Sherwood specializing in the sprint events and Hogan specializing in the 400.
TROJANS FEATURE STRONG SQUAD
Fruitport coach Chad Brandow welcomes back nearly everyone off last year’s team, and that includes several outstanding athletes.
The Trojans’ top returners include Zach Gilson, who stars in the sprints and long jumps, as well as sprinters Shawn Knox and Ben Kramer.
Nick Kramer and Alec Stanley are both standouts in the discus and shot put, while Collin Butler is the team’s top pole vaulter.
Brandow listed Aaron King and Noah Hendricks as the Trojans’ top distance guys.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.