MARSHALL– After a full season of running races week after week, Saturday’s league championship meets were an opportunity for one final tune-up before next week’s Regionals, and also a chance to earn a conference title.
The Interstate Eight Conference Championship meet was held at Cornwell’s Turkeyville in Marshall, with Jackson Lumen Christi taking the top spot in the girls’ race with just 31 points.
Marshall was second for the ladies with 45 points, followed by Harper Creek (67), Parma Western (116), Pennfield (149), Northwest (155), and Charlotte (174).
The Redhawks were paced by Abbey Ufkes, who completed the course in a personal best 19-minutes, 50-seconds.
“It was like the race of a lifetime,” Ufkes said at the finish line. “I’m so excited because it was my PR (personal record). The weather was really nice today, plus being on our home course really helped.”
Behind Ufkes for Marshall was Rachel Schoepke in eighth (20:30), Abby St. John in 10th (20:40), Ava Klein in 12th (20:47), and Hillie Tellevik in 13th (20:48).
“We ran well today, and four of my top five has season bests on a course that really wasn’t running that fast, so I think we’re right where we want to be,” Marshall coach Steve Wissink said. “We talk about top five spread all the time, and today our spread was under a minute [between the first and fifth runner], and we’d like to get it down to about 40 seconds. Everything this season has pretty much gone as planned other than an occasional bad race, so if we can pull it all together on the same day at Regionals, we have a really good chance [of going to the State Meet].”
For the Harper Creek girls, Allegra Baird was seventh in 20:18, Danielle Stewart was ninth (20:38), Hannah Berning in 11th (20:47), Emma Berning in 14th (20:51), and Julianna Adams in 26th (22:08).
Pennfield’s top five were Mallorie Haaksma (third, 20:11), Shaylee Smith (32nd, 22:52), Savanna Gregory (34th, 23:12), Torey Fischer (39th, 24:01), and Lindsey Hawthorne (41st, 24:07).
In the boys’ race, four of the top five runners were Parma Western Panthers, who ended up defeating Coldwater by four points, 29 to 33. Marshall finished in third with 91 points, followed by Harper Creek (122), Charlotte (162), Northwest (164), Pennfield (165), and Lumen Christi (188).
“It feels great to win,” said Parma Western’s Josiah Ottolini, who took first overall in 16-minutes, 13-seconds. “We’ve raced these teams twice already this year, so I knew what the competition was like and it was just great to come out and seal the deal.”
Coldwater placed all of its top five runners in the top 10 overall, led by Zack Murphy in third at 16:19, Ben Fagen in sixth (16:35), Josh Evers in seventh (16:36), Matt Sowles in eighth (16:52), and Adam Clemens in ninth (16:56).
“We’re very thankful to be second, but it’s bittersweet,” Coldwater coach Jim Billsborrow. “We were second last year to these guys, and we had hoped to dethrone them this year, but it didn’t happen by four points. Our guys came and ran the best they could have run, we just got beat by four points. But it gives me a lot of confidence and it gives our boys a lot of confidence being this close to [Parma Western] without our number one runner.”
Also in the boys’ race, Marshall’s top five were Elijah Balli-Solis (15th, 17:22), Chris Bell (16th, 17:24), Brett Carlisle (18th, 17:26), Christian Kalisz (19th, 17:27), and Calvin Smith (23rd, 17:36).
Harper Creek was led by Devon Funk (14th, 17:21), Tommy Shaw (20th, 17:34), Drew Haller (22nd, 17:36), Drew VanWagner (29th, 18:13), and Jaden Costa (37th, 18:41).
Nick Simonds was the fastest Pennfield runner, placing 13th in 17:17, followed by Kyle Tharp (27th, 17:55), Nolen Bornamann (36th, 18:34), Keagan Burns (42nd, 18:52), and Kyle Liggett (47th, 19:16).
SMAC Conference Championships
Gull Lake finished second in the boys’ race with 59 points, bested only by Portage Central with 39. Third place was Portage Northern (66), followed by Loy Norrix (106), St. Joseph (111), Lakeview (162), Kalamazoo Central (174), Mattawan (224), Stevensville Lakeshore (243), and Niles (249).
For the Blue Devils, Joey Dawson was second overall in 16:40, closely followed by Lucas Hamilton (fourth, 16:59), Jack Millmier (12th, 17:10), Austin Lovett (20th, 17:30), and Jacob Lyons (21st, 17:32).
Lakeviews top five were Scott Bridges (22nd, 17:34), Joe Glubke (31st, 17:53), Brandon Vanoosten (32nd, 17:58), Nate Wiley (35th, 18:02), and Sage Castleberry (42nd, 18:32).
In the girls’ race, Portage Northern was first as a team with 43 points. St. Joseph was second with 59 points, Portage Central was third (69), Lakeview was fourth (86), Gull Lake was fifth (94), Stevesville Lakeshore was sixth (173), Loy Norrix was seventh (208), Mattawan was eighth (209), and Niles was ninth (234).
Lakeview was paced by Payton Stine (12th, 20:07), Maggie Farrell (13th, 20:11), Logann Haluszka (19th, 20:38), Maggie Wood (20th, 20:41), and Avery Truex (22nd, 20:44).
For Gull Lake, the top runners were Lily Fell (fourth, 19:32), Makenzie Wank (10th, 19:58), Calire Halpin (17th, 20:35), Morgan Blinn (29th, 21:10), and Maddie Salvato (34th, 21:28).
More boys cross country
LITTLE GUYS INVITE (AT GOBLES)
Team scores: 1-Mendon 38, 2-Hackett 96, 3-Quincy 101, 4-Hartford 156, 5-Athens 158, 6-Parchment 161, 7-Lawrence 161, 8-Eau Claire 163, 9-Bloomingdale 185, 10-Wyoming Lee 213
Quincy top five: 4-Nathan Nohr 17:52, 12-Brandon Gary 18:29, 30-Ethan Nottingham 19:25, 33-Joshua Pepper 19:41, 36-Bryce Bassage 19:53
Athens top five: 19-Casey Hardin 18:49, 35-Mason Mears 19:51, 39-Bradley Branvold 20:04, 41-Austin Fuller 20:12, 48-Riley Howard 20:43
CLASS D MEET
Team scores: St. Philip placed ninth out of 19 teams.
St. Philip top five: 9-Jack Greenman 17:24, 14-Kenny Wojcik 17:46, 41-Drew Lantinga 18:37, 103-Noah Barry 20:55, 130-Jon Perry 23:09
More girls’ cross country
LITTLE GUYS INVITE (AT GOBLES)
Team scores: 1-Hackett 46, 2-Quincy 46, 3-Gobles 94, 4-Mendon 133, 5-Athens 136, 6-Buchanan 138, 7-Wyoming Lee 153, 8-Hartford 198, 9-Lawrence 208
Quincy top five: 2-Gabby Porter 20:59, 6-Meri Michael 21:48, 9-Harmony Harpster 22:00, 16-Madde Horn 22:36, 17-Katie Spalding 22:42
Athens top five: 3-Corra Hamilton 21:21, 28-Samantha Hardin 23:27, 35-Jaiden Hurst 24:23, 36-Jenny Smittendorf 24:24, 44-Alora Garcia 25:08
CLASS D MEET
Team scores: St. Philip finished in second place overall.
St. Philip top five: 1-Ava Strenge 18:23, 4-Riley Rutherford 19:06, 5-Madi Elliott 19:06, 29-Meagan Casterline 21:37, 66-Helen Berner 24:29
Travis Tekiele can be reached at [email protected] or 269-966-0677. Follow him on Twitter: @travis_tekiele