Saugatuck boys win Allegan County Meet, girls take second
By Jason Wesseldyk
MARTIN—The Saugatuck cross country teams made quite an impression at the annual Allegan County Meet at the US-131 Motorsports Park on Thursday, Oct. 17.
The Saugatuck boys won their race with 28 points, while the Saugatuck girls put together a runner-up showing of 51 points.
Plainwell won the girls race with 51 points.
“I was really pleased with the effort that both teams gave,” Saugatuck boys’ coach Rick Bauer said.
The Saugatuck boys, ranked fourth in Division 3, finished 20 points ahead of runner-up Allegan’s 48-point total. Otsego, ranked second in Division 2, rested many of its top runners due to training purposes and placed third with 72 points.
All five of Saugatuck’s scoring runners placed in the top nine, led by winner Nik Pettinga at 16:36.
“Nik ran a smart tactical race and continues to impress me with the variety of ways he can win a race,” Bauer said. “We talked about building his toolbox and he took that to heart. He is trying different things and finding his best strategy for the championship meet.”
Max Sharnas (third at 17:03), Winston Marcy (seventh at 17:26), Adam Martinson (eighth at 17:30) and Tristan Ashley (ninth at 17:37) followed.
Luke Gorgas gave Saugatuck a sixth All-County runner—which went to the top 15 finishers—by placing 14th at 17:58.
“The boys continue to make progress,” Bauer said. “Winston had a stellar performance. Luke also ran extremely well and I feel like he is getting ready to have a huge drop. Adam and Tristan continue to be solid and reliable. They have been training at a high level and, like Luke, seem like to be on the cusp of a major breakthrough.”
Also earning All-County were: Allegan’s Connor Harlan (second at 16:37), Blane Johnson (fifth at 17:18), Mason Kleeves (sixth at 17:19) and Spencer Koch (12th at 17:57); Plainwell’s Eli Veen (fourth at 17:15) and Ethan Johnson (11th at 17:48); and Otsego’s Isaiah Wilkins (10th at 17:43), Pierce Bentley (13th at 17:57) and Tristan Canales (15th at 18:00).
For the girls, Plainwell’s win came two days after the Trojans finished runner-up to Otsego in the Wolverine Conference Meet.
“We approached the county race a little differently than past years this time around,” Plainwell coach Brett Beier said. “With only a day in between conference and county, we wanted to get a little more than a race out of the day.
“We ended up incorporating a workout into the middle of the race and it worked to our advantage. The top five really had to fight for their positions after the first mile and I think it helped push them to stronger finishes.”
Plainwell had three of the top four finishers, with Makenna Veen first (19:19), Grace Pettit second (19:27) and Mackenzie Hill third (20:22).
Morgan Try (11th at 21:32) and Kennedy Vanderlugt (15th at 21:43) also earned All-County.
“For the five girls to make both All-Conference and All-County in the same week is a pretty awesome achievement,” Beier said. “We knew Otsego wasn’t running their top girls, but Saugatuck gave us a run for the championship.”
That Saugatuck did, with four All-County honorees. Those four were: Jillian Vera (sixth at 20:46) Sophie McQueary (seventh at 21:00), Jillian Johnson (10th at 21:30) and Kyrah Rodriguez (12th at 21:39).
“The girls continue to exceed expectations,” Bauer said. “They came into the race looking like the fourth or fifth-best team, but they didn’t let that slow them down.
“They wanted to know which team was the best. We told them Plainwell was likely the team to beat and they decided to try to run with them.”
Hannah Smit was Saugatuck’s final scoring runner, placing one spot out of All-County contention at 16th with a time of 21:45.
“Like the boys, it seems like these girls are on the verge of a big break,” Bauer said.
Other All-County runners were: Otsego’s Joy Wolfe (third at 20:18) and Maria Germain (13th at 21:41); Wayland’s Olivia Barabas (fifth at 20:38); and Allegan’s Sabrina Mills (eighth at 21:02), Sasha Mills (ninth at 21:23) and Autumn Wheeler (14th at 21:43).