By Jason Goorman

MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – Three years ago Aaron Simot wasn’t exactly a threat to win the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Cross Country Meet.LSJ Logo incert

The Fruitport runner finished in 100th place as a freshman, and, in his own words, “wasn’t that good.”

Fruitport's Aaron Simot. Photo?Jason Goorman.

Fruitport’s Aaron Simot. Photo/Jason Goorman.

Forward to Friday’s city meet at University Park Golf Course at Muskegon Community College.

Simot not only won the boys race, finishing 23 seconds better than second -Jacob Tanner of Holton, but he set a new course record with a time of 16:02.5.

“It feels great,” Simot said. “Freshman year I wasn’t that good. I broke 20 minutes once and finished 100th my freshman year. So going from pretty much last place to first place your senior year is a great feat for me and I’m proud for what I’ve done.”

“He went from Mr. Joe Average as a freshman and took it to heart and started running over the summers and proved that mileage works,” said Fruitport Coach Randy Johnson. “You just gotta do the miles and he’s exploded ever since.”

Simot’s victory, and strong runs by several of his teammates, helped Fruitport run away with the boys team title and repeat as city champions. They finished with 46 points, far ahead of second-place North Muskegon (93).

The Trojans had four other runners finishing in the top 20. Mitchell Johnson (16:30.53) finished fourth, Cameron Oleen (16:45.58) took seventh, Brendan Deneen (17:00.45) took 13th and Nick Kleinheksel was 17th.

R-P's Maryssa Depies

R-P’s Maryssa Depies. Photo/Jason Goorman

Whitehall was third in the boys competition, followed by Montague, Holton, Reeths-Puffer, Oakridge, Mona Shores, Western Michigan Christian, Orchard View, Muskegon Catholic, Ravenna and Muskegon.

The girl’s competition was much closer, with Reeths-Puffer edging Whitehall by one point to take the city team championship. The Rockets had 38 points while Whitehall had 39.

The Whitehall girls came into the meet as the two-time defending champions.

Leading the way for Reeths-Puffer was Maryssa Depies, who cruised to first place with a time of 18:42.76, 29 seconds ahead of Reeths-Puffer teammate Lilah Parker (19:11.05) who finished second overall.

Depies’ victory was all the more impressive, considering she hasn’t felt well at all. The senior runner has been fighting a lung virus called pleurisy for the past month.

“It’s just my goal to run my own race,” said Depies who finished second in last year’s city run. “I’m dealing with pleurisy which causes my lungs to be inflamed. So it’s been hard to run lately and I wanted to run a good race. I just kept telling myself to keep the pace and you’ll always slow down naturally, but I battled through.”

“Marisa taking first was wonderful,” said veteran Reeths-Puffer Coach Dee Richardson. “They all ran great, but to beat Whitehall, a great team that had five girls run under 20 minutes, was big. We wanted to go in knowing we had a shot to win and the girls ran really well and they got it done.”

Finishing in third place in the girl’s team standings was Mona Shores, followed by Western Michigan Christian, North Muskegon, Fruitport, Ravenna, Montague, Holton, Muskegon Catholic, Oakridge and Muskegon.


Girls Top 10 individuals

1, Maryssa Depies, R-P, 18:42.76

2, Lilah Parker, R-P, 19:11.05

3, Maya Hector, Whitehall, 19:20.76

4, Avley Hentschel, Whitehall, 19:23.15

5, Mychala Spoelman, Ravenna, 19:24.87

6, Jayme Brantsen, R-P 19:26.16

7, Mieke Hart, Mona Shores, 19:33.34

8, Sarah Vanderkooi, WMC 19:37.49

9, Solana Witham, Whitehall, 19:38.04

10, Nora Mitteer, Whitehall, 19:38.39

Boys Top 10 individuals

1, Aaron Simot, Fruitport, 16:02.5

2, Jacob Tanner, Holton, 16:25.40

3, Mike Hyatt, Orchard View, 16:28.21

4, Mitchell Johnson, Fruitport, 16:30.53

5, Evan Hodson, R-P, 16:35.13

6, Kyle Messerschmidt, Oakridge, 16:37.13

7, Cameron Oleen, Fruitport, 16:45.58

8, Kyler Korstanje, Holton, 16:46.58

9, Cole Jensen, Montague, 16:50.45

10, Nick Dennison, Mona Shores, 16:51.18