North Muskegon’s Avery Lowe, Calvary Christian’s Brendan Hamilton capture titles in cross country regionals

Local Sports Journal

North Muskegon’s Avery Lowe and Fruitport Calvary Christian’s Brendan Hamilton ran off with individual championships in the girls and boys races, respectively, at the Division 4 regional cross country meet in Allendale Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Fremont boys cross country squad won the regional team title in the Division 2 meet in Traverse City.

High school cross country teams from throughout the area competed at various regional meets in West Michigan to try to qualify for next week’s state finals. The top three teams and top 15 individuals in each race qualified for state.

In the Division 4 girls race in Allendale, individual honors went to Lowe, a North Muskegon senior who finished first overall with a time of 18:52. Lowe’s teammate, Chloe Strach, took third in the race with a time of 20:32.

North Muskegon’s girls took third as a team to qualify for the state finals. Western Michigan Christian’s girls took second in the same regional and qualify for state. The Warriors’ top runner was Josie Ruiter, who took 10th overall with a time of 21:28.

In the boys race, Hamilton, a Calvary Christian senior but a first-year cross country runner, took first place with a time of 16:16.

The North Muskegon boys took third as a team with 95 points and qualified for state. Top runners for the Norse were Chase Eslick (fourth with a time of 16:43) and Wesley Collins (seven with a time of 16:59).

Braxton Snuffer of Western Michigan Christian took sixth place with a time of 16:57.

In the Division 2 meet in Traverse City, the Fremont boys ran away with the team title with a score of 35, easily outdistancing second-place Sparta (96).

The Packers truly won as a team, with runners Matt Zerfas (16:16), Cole Hamilton (16:30), Sam Kaastra (16:40), and Sam Still (16:50) taking third through sixth place, respectively. Fremont’s Andrew Goodspeed took 13th place.

Whitehall’s Keaton Smith was third in the boys race with a time of 16:14. Grant’s Jesse Saxton was eighth with a 16:52. Ludington’s Luke Schwass was 11th and Orchard View’s Sam Dueling finished 14th.

In the girls race, the Whitehall girls team finished second with a score of 74 to qualify for state. Top runners for Whitehall were Jessica Harris (third with a time of 19:12), Maya Hector (fifth with a time of 19:26) and Nora Mitteer (15th with a 20:20).

Lauren Biggs of Ludington took sixth place with a time of 19:26. Brianna Norris of Fremont took 13th to earn a state bid.

In the Division 1 meet at Portage, the Grand Haven girls and boys team both qualified for state. The girls finished second with 91 points  while the boys finished third with 91 points. Top runners for Grand Haven were Jack Nicholson, who finished fourth in the boys race with a 16:37, and Malea Teerman, who finished ninth in the girls race with a 19:46.

In the Division 1 meet at Traverse City, Reeths-Puffer’s Maryssa Depies finished fifth in the girls race with a time of 18:52. Mona Shores’ Jackie Seward also won a bid to state with a 14th place finish.

In the Division 3 regional at Allendale, Victoria Ross of Hesperia finished fourth with a time of 20:14. Kenadee Shugars of Montague was ninth with a 20:27, while Mychala Spoelman of Ravenna took 11th to qualify for state.

In the Division 4 regional in Traverse City, Walkerville’s Emily Merten finished second in the girls race with a time of 19:59. Madeline Wagner of Pentwater also won a state bid by finishing 14th. Taylor Rodriguez of White Cloud and Derrin Kirwin of Walkerville finished 13th and 14th, respectively, in the boys race and won spots in the state finals.

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