By Craig Beilfuss

MUSKEGON–The Mona Shores girls cross country team, along with the Whitehall boys cross country team, captured the 2022 Greater Muskegon Athletic Association (GMAA) titles on Saturday morning.

The event was run at University Park Golf Course in Muskegon on a chilly and windy day.

In the girls’ division, the Sailors tallied 32 points. Whitehall finished in second place with 68 points while Western Michigan Christian came in third place with 73 points.

Other team scores included Fruitport (93), Reeths-Puffer (127), Montague (170), Oakridge (177) and Ravenna (214).

Western Michigan Christian sophomore Grace VanderKooi took top individual honors in the girls’ division with a time of 18:40.03. She was followed by Mona Shores freshman Ellery Horness, who crossed the finish line in a time of 19:08.64 while Whitehall senior Ariana Treat finished in third place with a time of 19:32.22.

Grace VanderKooi from WMC took top honors in the girls division on Saturday morning at the 2022 GMAA cross country meet (Photo/Craig Beilfuss)


“Grace VanderKooi’s race was a great exercise in patience and trust in her training,” WMC coach Greg Gould said. “She knew she wanted to establish herself at the front but not necessarily be leading in the opening loop.

“She was able to separate with Ellery Horness from Mona Shores, and they established a solid gap over the field in the opening mile while working together,” Gould said. “Starting the second loop Grace was able to make a solid move to pull away and had a good margin at two miles, at that point she was pushing for time, and was rewarded with a new personal best for that effort.”

Other top ten runners included Robyn Hunt (Mona Shores), Cecilia Conrad (Mona Shores), Valerie Pollock (Fruitport), Jersi Bilek (Reeths-Puffer), Adalyn Britton (Whitehall), Grace Folkema (WMC) and Kendall Braginton (Mona Shores).

In the boys’ division, the Whitehall Vikings narrowly got by Mona Shores. Whitehall finished with a team score of 63 points while the Sailors finished with 69 points. Fruitport was right behind Mona Shores with 70 points.

Rounding out the team scoring was Reeths-Puffer (82), Western Michigan Christian (127), North Muskegon (136), Montague (197), Muskegon Catholic Central (201) Ravenna (203) and Muskegon (303).

Mona Shores senior Caleb Branch took top individual honors with a time of 15:42.70. Whitehall senior Andre Richmond came in second with a time of 15:48.20 and Reeths-Puffer junior Jaxon Allen finished in third with a time of 15:59.70.

Other top ten runners included Carter Mcllroy (Whitehall), Peyton Ruel (Oakridge), Vincent Pollock (Fruitport), Levi Glynn (Fruitport), Kye Grant (Reeths-Puffer), Will Parsekian (Mona Shores) and Stewart Waters (Whitehall).

Caleb Branch of Mona Shores took top individual honors in the boys’ division on Saturday at the 2022 GMAA cross country meet (Photo/Craig Beilfuss)