By Steve Gunn

MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – Reeths-Puffer’s Jayme Brantsen was in second place near the end of the race at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Cross Country Meet on Friday.

She had one girl to beat down the stretch – her friend and teammate, Kendall Jones.

Reeths-Puffer’s Jayme Brantsen runs along the trail. Photo/Jason Goorman

Of course Brantsen would have been happy to see Jones win the individual championship in the girls’ race. But she’s a senior, and Jones is only a sophomore, so she made a final burst about 50 meters out, passed Jones, and won the individual city title at University Park Golf Course.

“At the end I was doubting myself a lot, but I overcame it, because I knew I had it in me,” Brantsen said. “It was back and forth. Kendall was ahead of me until about the last mile, then I kicked it in. I just thought, ‘I’ve got to get her.’

“This was not as competitive, because I knew if she wins, I win too. We’re close friends. But this was my last city meet as a senior. I knew this was my race.”

Brantsen and Jones’ 1-2 finish helped propel the Reeths-Puffer girls to their second consecutive city meet team championship.

The Rockets finished with 44 points, followed by Whitehall (55), Fruitport (87), Mona Shores (110), Western Michigan Christian (136), Montague (147), North Muskegon (174) and Holton (182).

Three Rockets finished in the top 10 of the girls race – Brantsen, Jones (18:34.74) and Grace Sweet (eighth place, 20:12.47).

The rest of the girls’ top 10 consisted of North Muskegon’s Isabella Lindsay (third place, 19:42.90), Whitehall’s Nora Mitteer (fourth, 19:47.57), WMC’s Josie Aardema (fifth, 19:54.58), Montague’s Emily Unger (sixth, 19:54.97), Fruitport’s Faith Clark (seventh, 19:57.20), Mona Shores’ Adele Cory (ninth, 20:13.59) and Whitehall’s Solana Witham (10th, 20:14.96).

Montague’s Cole Jensen leads the pack along the trail with Fruitport’s Cameron Oleen in second and Reeths-Puffer’s Evan Hodson in the back. Photo/Jason Goorman

While Brantsen and Jones dualed for first place in the girls’ race, Fruitport’s Cameron Oleen had no competition for the top spot in the boys’ race.

Oleen rolled to a season-best time of !5:53.09 and won the boys’ race with ease. His closest competitor was Montague’s Cole Jensen, who finished a distant second with a time of 16:28.55.

“I kind of just got in my groove,” said Oleen, who dropped nearly a full minute off his previous season-best time. “I knew if I was going to break 16 (minutes) I had to go a little faster today. I figured, If you die, you die. Just do it. Just go out there and run.”

Oleen’s stellar performance helped Fruitport win the boys’ team city championship for the third straight season. The Trojans finished with 56 points, followed by Reeths-Puffer (79), Montague (103), Whitehall (117), Western Michigan Christian (121), North Muskegon (140) and Mona Shores (145).

Fruitport only had one other runner in the individual top 10 – Brendan Deneen (sixth place, 16:58.47), but earned points with a total of five runners in the top 20. The other three were Jon Wildey (16th, 17:41.30), Cameron Weaver (17th, 17:42,54) and Peyton Sharlow (20th, 18:07.24).

Rounding out the top 10 on the boys’ race were Mona Shores’ Nick Dennison (third, 16:33.62), Reeths-Puffer’s Evan Hodson (fourth, 16:41.93), Orchard View’s Michael Hyatt (fifth, 16:49.22), Oakridge’s Kyle Messerschmidt (seventh, 17:04.46), North Muskegon’s Chase Eslick (eighth, 17:12.35), Whitehall’s Sam Baustert (ninth, 17:17.94) and WMC’s Eli Rotham (10th, 17:21.31).