The Laker girls took top honors with a score of 41 points, just ahead of Holland Christian with 53 points, while Western Michigan Christian came in third with 119 points and Fruitport came in 11th place with 277 points.
Western Michigan Christian freshman Abby VanderKooi took top individual honors with a time of 17:05.1. With the time, VanderKooi set a new school record in her first varsity race.
Spring Lake’s Elizabeth Penrice came in second place with a time of 19:48 to lead the Lakers. Spring Lake finished with four runners inside the top 10 and two more inside the top 15 to run away with the gold-medal team finish.
Freshman Allie Baker came in eighth place with a time of 21:03.4, while Chloe Lohman came in ninth (21:05), Anna Fedewa came in 10th (21:26.25), Maggie Cooper came in 12th (21:29.8) and Jaynie Seylhower came in 13th (21:32.52).
“It was great to see the girls run a strong race tonight,” said Spring Lake head coach Aaron Andres. “We got back from cross country camp Saturday night, and we were a little concerned that the short turnaround might play into today’s race. We always list goals for each race and we stressed the importance of group racing in this first race.
“The girls did an excellent job with that. Our first five runners were in top 12. Lizzy has absolutely looked the strongest I’ve ever seen her coming into the season and is running her best. The team feeds of her energy, and you can see it trickle down to the other runners. We have a great blend of veteran and new runners. Our focus is getting stronger each week and taking away what we can from each practice and race.”
For WMC, Sarah VanderKooi came in 11th place with a time of 21:28.53 and Josie Aardema came in 18th place with a time of 21:50.17.
"The girls started the season off with a great team performance today, and our two new additions to the team had great races,” said WMC head coach Kevin Aardema. “Abby was the overall champion and set a new WMC girls school and freshman record of 17:05, followed closely by our two seniors working toward their fourth appearances in the state finals, Sarah VanderKooi (11th) and Josie Aardema (18th).
"We had an outstanding team result, finishing third out of 13 teams, losing only to a pair of Division 2 teams that are most likely heading to their respective state finals in November. Like the boys, we were the only Division 4 school to field a complete team. Historically, we tend to finish middle of the pack at this meet, so to finish third was a pleasant surprise. But, we have a long season ahead of us, and need to continue to improve if we want to be in the State Finals as a team in November."
Junior Faith Clark finished 23rd overall with a time of 22:11.11 to lead Fruitport.
SPRING LAKE BOYS FOLLOW SUIT
The Laker boys took top honors with a score of 65, while Sparta finished second with 92 and Muskegon Reeths-Puffer finished third with 107.
Fruitport came in fourth with 147 points, while Western Michigan Christian came in sixth with 167 points.
Andrew Hylen led the Lakers with a time of 16 minutes, 48.9 seconds to finish second overall behind Whitehall’s Sam Baustert with a time of 16:27.44. Ben Hylen came in fourth with a time of 17:10.17, while Callen Carrier came in 14th (17:50.3), Ian Hill came in 20th (17:58.94) and Matthew Vanderwall came in 25th (18:25.42) to round up the scoring for Spring Lake.
Brendan Deneen came in seventh place overall with a time of 17:12.99 to lead Fruitport, while Jon Wildey came in 12th (17:45.18).
Jack Zuidema came in sixth place overall with a time of 17:12.76 to lead WMC, while Eli Rotman added a ninth-place finish (17:22.55).
"The boys opened up with a great team effort today,” said WMC head coach Greg Gould. “We were led by our two seniors, Jack Zuidema and Eli Rotman. We placed sixth out of 13 teams, and we were the only Division 4 team with enough athletes to generate a team score.
"Anytime we can open the season in a meet with over 200 athletes, be the smallest school with a complete team, and place in the top half, we've had a good day."