The Grand Haven boys swim and dive team hosted the O-K Red Conference championship meet over the weekend, finishing fourth amidst a loaded field of competition.
West Ottawa took top honors with 467 points, ahead of Rockford at 405, Hudsonville at 340 and Grand Haven at 286. Grandville took fifth overall with 256 points, ahead of last-place East Kentwood with 211.
Highlighting the weekend for Grand Haven was sophomore Carter Brown, breaking into the championship final in his two individual events and fueling impressive performances by the Buccaneer relays.
Brown took eighth in the 200-yard individual medley, clocking in at 2:05.00, just behind senior Grant Ruster with the Bucs’ highest individual finish of the day in fourth place at 2:00.62. Brown continued his quick day in the pool with a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke, coming in at 54.72, to secure a lane at the state finals.
Matt Fahey picked up a state qualification by the length of his fingernails, coming in fifth in the 500 freestyle at 4:54.38, making the cut by just .11 seconds. Michael MacDonald (5:08.73), Caleb Reeves (5:12.48), and Kelly (5:15.20) finished in 10-12th place.
Grand Haven broke back into the championship final in the 100 butterfly, as Fritz locked up a fifth-place finish in 54.06, ahead of Griffin Kelly in eighth at 56.25. Mark Wilgenburg won the consolation heat in 56.23.
Fritz fell victim to the heat lock in the 200 I.M. after finishing in 10th in Friday’s prelim swim. The senior won the consolation finals Saturday for ninth place, despite clocking in faster than Brown in eighth with a time of 2:04.03. Thomas MacDonald rounded out the event with a 16th-place finish at 2:11.06.
Vandenbrand got a top-eight finish of his own, finishing eighth in the 100 freestyle at 48.89, good for a Division 1 state cut. Devries took 10th in 48.90, while Zach Deur finished 15th in 51.31.
The Buc sprinters couldn’t crack the top heat of the 50 freestyle, but managed to sweep the consolation heat, as Mark Wilgenburg (22.40), Jordan Devries (22.58) and Eli Vandenbrand (22.68) finished in ninth through 11th place.
Grand Haven picked up some depth points in the final two individual events of the day, as Ethan Ball took 12th-place in the 100 backstroke in 58.27, ahead of Aiden Latchaw in 14th at 58.63.
In the 100 breaststroke, Jackson Hamm led the Bucs with a tie for ninth-place at 1:03.20, ahead of Ruster in 11th at 1:03.73.
The Bucs were consistent in their relay performances. Brown, Ruster, Fritz and Wilgenburg took fourth in the 200 medley relay in 1:39.38, while the 200 freestyle relay team of Wilgenburg, Vandenbrand, Devries and Ruster took fourth in 1:28.96.
Finally, the 400 freestyle relay team of Devries, Fahey, Vandenbrand and Fritz finished fifth in 3:19.16.
Grand Haven bowlers send two to state finals
The Grand Haven boys and girls bowling teams took on the Division 1 team and individual regional tournaments this weekend at Battle Creek with both Buccaneer squads missing the qualifying cut to advance to the state finals as a collective team.
However, the Grand Haven boys did manage to qualify two individuals for next weekend's state meet with senior Logan Batka and freshman Collin Prokopec both finishing in the top 10 at Saturday's individual tournament.
On the boys' team side, Caledonia (4,127), Jenison (4,028) and Hudsonville (4,004) all advanced with strong showings, while the Bucs finished just shy of the qualifying mark at 3,948.
On the girls' team side, it was the same trio of programs advancing with Caledonia (3,781) taking top honors, followed by Jenison (3,724) and Hudsonville (3,567).
The Grand Haven girls squad came in eighth place with 2,769 points.
"Friday's team event did not go so well for the girls," said Grand Haven head coach Pat Mitchell. "They started slow and never really got going. The girls finished eighth and it was a good experience for a number of the new team members.
"The boys overcame a slow start and came in at fourth after the six baker games. They jumped into first after the first regular game, but unfortunately, struggled the second and third game and were unable to stay in the top three that advance to state."
Saturday's singles competition showed some improvement for both squads, however, the Grand Haven girls couldn't land a top 10 performance in a loaded individual bracket.
Abbie House (947) came in 25th, while Kaleigh Batka (944) finished 27th to lead the Buccaneer girls' efforts.
For the Grand Haven boys, freshman Collin Prokopec came in fifth place (1,240) and senior Logan Batka (1,238) came in sixth place to send both Buccaneers to the state finals.
Grand Haven nearly sent two more performers to the state meet with Jonathan Garland coming in 12th place with 1,193 points and Maverick Green finishing in 16th place with 1,162.
"Singles went well for the boys as a whole," added Mitchell. "Senior team captain Logan Batka and freshman Collin Prokopec advanced to the state finals next Saturday in Sterling Heights, and junior Jonathan Garland and senior Maverick Green almost made it through, as well.
"I was happy with the kids' performances. It was a great learning experience win, lose or draw."
The two Grand Haven qualifiers will take on the Division 1 individual state finals on Saturday at Sterling Lanes in Sterling Heights.
Fruitport bowlers send four to state finals
The Fruitport boys and girls bowling teams each qualified two performers at Saturday’s Division 2 individual regional tournament at Sherman Bowling Center in Muskegon.
On the girls’ side, Rachel Pierce came in fourth place with a score of 1,065 and teammate Shelby Weaver came in fifth place with a score of 1,057.
On the boys’ side, Connor Himes (1,089) and teammate Logan Wadland (1,089) tied for ninth place overall to nab the final two qualifying spots at the regional event.
The group of Fruitport bowlers will advance to Saturday’s Division 2 individual state finals tournaments at the Super Bowl in Canton.