Saugatuck boys win regional title, girls place runner-up
CENTREVILLE—Entering this season, Saugatuck boys’ cross country coach
Rick Bauer believed his team had what it took to contend for a Division
3 state championship after winning the Division 4 title last season.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Indians took another step toward that goal.
Competing in the Division 3 regional at Centreville High School,
Saugatuck placed all five of its scoring runners in the top 16 as the
Indians finished with 36 points to secure the regional title for the
eighth straight season.
The Saugatuck girls fell just short of making it a clean sweep for the
Indians. They placed runner-up in their race, finishing with 55 points
compared to 46 for Galesburg-Augusta.
Bloomingdale was second in the boys’ race with 62 points, with Parchment
locking down the final state-qualifying spot by virtue of its
third-place showing of 76 points.
“You’re always happy with a regional title,” Bauer said. “And I am happy
with this regional title. To win eight in a row says a lot about this
There was, however, a caveat when it came to Bauer’s happiness.
“Honestly, the way I look at all this stuff is through the lens of the
state meet,” he said. “I always ask myself the same question. Based on
this performance, does it look like we’re trending in the right
direction in terms of being where we want to be at the state finals.
“I had to answer ‘no’ to that question, which is a little concerning.”
Much of Bauer’s concern stemmed from the times turned in by his runners.
“The times just weren’t where I thought they’d be,” he said.
Seeing the times of the Division 2 boys’ regional meet held later that
day on the same course did ease Bauer’s mind somewhat.
“Those times were a little off, too, so that made me feel a little
better knowing that it was a slow course,” he said. “Still, you don’t
know how slow. Was it 20 seconds slow compared to some other regional
courses. Or was it 40 seconds slow? You just can’t be sure, so it leaves
a little bit of uneasiness.”
Despite the slow conditions of the course, a pair of Indians still
managed to find their way to the top of the heap.
Sophomore Max Sharnas won the race with a time of 16:42, while junior
Nik Pettinga was second at 16:54.
They were the only two runners to finish in less than 17 minutes, as
Bloomingdale’s Joe Furlan was third at 17:07.
“Max and Nik are going to compete no matter the day or the conditions,”
he said. “We look to them to set the tone for us.”
Two of Sharnas’ classmates also earned All-Regional by finishing in the
top 15. Adam Martinson was 10th at 17:52, while Tristan Ashley was 12th
“We’re a young team, which I think is easy to forget sometimes,” Bauer
said. “Three of our top four runners were sophomores and Nik is our only
runner who is in his third year of high school cross country. Everyone
else is in either their first or second year.”
That includes the team’s two seniors, Winston Marcy and Conner Seifert.
Marcy, who splits his time with soccer and ran for the first time last
season, was Saugatuck’s fifth runner. He placed one spot out of
All-Regional contention at 16th with a time of 18:08.
Seifert, who is in his first season, was 21st at 18:25.
“I think Winston is a key for us,” Bauer said. “He has so much ability.
“And I thought Conner turned in one of the performances of the day. He
almost got a (personal record) on that course.”
The Saugatuck girls also had four All-Regional runners.
Senior Jillian Vera led the way in fifth place at 20:52. She was
followed by senior Sophie McQueary in 11th place (21:27), senior Kyrah
Rodriguez in 13th place (21:38) and junior Jillian Johnson in 14th place
Sophomore Hannah Smith was the Indians’ fifth scoring runner, placing
17th at 2:06.
While Saugatuck qualified for the state finals as a team, Fennville’s
Julie Mendoza qualified as an individual by achieving All-Regional
status. She grabbed the final All-Regional spot, placing 15th at 21:48.