The Grand Haven boys cross country team took home their first conference championship since sharing the title with Rockford in 2010. It is the first time Rockford has not won or shared the O-K Red championship in 25 years.
The Bucs did it with 52 points, edging Rockford by a single point. The Rams finished with 53, ahead of Hudsonville at 62, East Kentwood at 99, Grandville at 125, West Ottawa at 156 and Caledonia at 157.
The meet was literally won by inches.
Jack Nicholson led the way with a third-place finish in 15:54.7, securing him All-Conference honors for the fourth time in his career.
Andrew Ireland followed in seventh place, leaning over the finish line to take an eyeball win over a West Ottawa runner, finishing with the same time at 16:29.8.
Adian Martin took 10th place with a time of 16:34.6, sans dramatics.
Dominic Weatherwax came in for a contested 12th place at 16:43.2, staging a spectacular finish, lunging over the line to beat two Hudsonville runners by one tenth of a second.
Cole Rowden took 20th place, beating out the 21st finisher by under half a second, while Kyle Eveland finished 23rd, edging Rockford’s No. 5 runner by one place, securing the one-point victory.
Ireland, Martin, Rowden and Weatherwax also secured All-Conference honors, making it the most in a season in Grand Haven history.
“It was amazing. Our guys were literally throwing themselves over the finishing line at the end to get ahead of the Rockford runners,” said Tarr. “Ireland pushed himself over the edge, and so did Rowden and Eveland.
“Jack ran his usual steady race, and we obviously couldn’t have done this without his continued excellent performance. I told the guys before the race that we needed five perfect races if we were going to win, and we actually got six.”
GH girls finish fifth
The Grand Haven girls cross country team finished fifth at the O-K Red Conference Championship on Thursday with 115 points. Rockford took top honors (29), ahead of Caledonia (83), Hudsonville (85) and West Ottawa (94). The Bucs finished ahead of Grandville (129) and East Kentwood (171).
Gabby Hentemann led the way in second place overall (18:13), earning first-team All Conference honors. Abby Buitenhuis was 15th overall and also earned All-Conference (19:49). Kelsie Bovee finished 31st (20:40), Marlie Fraser 33rd (20:48), and Giovana Maracek 34th (20:51).
“I am very proud of Gabby and Abby for earning first-team All Conference. They've done everything right all season long and it paid off with some nice recognition tonight,” Grand Haven head coach Scott Przystas said. “As a team, we still have a ways to go before next weekend's regional meet. It will be a very competitive region with No. 1 Rockford, No. 6 East Grand Rapids, No. 13 Forest Hills Nothern and us at No. 12. These next two weeks are more about getting mentally ready over being physically ready. It will be a very good test for these young ladies.”