It was Mason County Eastern’s (MCE) boys’ that came out on top.
The Cardinals took first in the boys’ small school race, tallying 92 points. Senior Luke Niedzielski led the way, placing sixth with a 17:39.10 finish. Behind him was Peter Hybza in 14th (18.10.40), Milo Shoup in 17th (18:28.97), Corliss Gulembo IV in 29th (18.54.85), Ron Hasenbank in 44th (19:24.66) and Greyson Hoeflinger in 45th (19:26.56) to round out their top six.
The North Muskegon Norsemen finished in sixth at 171 points while the Pentwater Falcons landed in eighth with 215 points.
For North Muskegon, it was Evan Atkinson-Miller that had the best finish for the team, placing 13th with a time of 18:08.25. Other top finishers for the Norse included Barrett Nance in 28th (18:54.02), CJ Bennett in 39th (19:10.08) and August Gerardi in 56th (20:01.18).
Pentwater’s strong day was led by two top ten finishers in seniors Abe VanDuinen and Mitchel Daniels. VanDuinen placed first individually with a blazing time of 16:25.16, which broke the Falcons’ school record. Daniels came in seventh at 17:41.56.
Hesperia, Mason County Central (MCC) and Walkerville were also in attendance. The Panthers and Spartans finished near the bottom in team scores, with Hesperia finishing 14th at 338 and MCC in last place with 434.
Both the Panthers and MCC had five runners compete. For Hesperia, it was junior Andrew Sherburn who had the best finish in 32nd place (18:56.41), with freshman Nathan Ruhstorfer following behind in 66th (20:41.07). MCC’s top runners were Asher Johnson in 84th (21:55.80) and Jackson Poll in 104th (22:46.72).
Walkerville’s squad wasn’t large enough to qualify for a team finish, but their two runners still managed to finish in the top 105 runners. Freshman Aron Mascorro finished 62nd (20:20.63) while sophomore Hunter Tinkham finished 95th (22:23.79).
In the girls’ small school race, it was MCC and MCE that garnered the best finishes of West Michigan schools, placing fourth and fifth, respectively.
MCC’s freshmen class impressed with Maylan Sanders pacing the Spartans lineup in 12th overall (22:04.19) while Lexie Sanford (23:08.64), Aiden Wood (23:21:95) and Jovi Campbell-Pickard (23:39.37) took in top 35 finishes.
MCE sophomore Lauren Niedzielski was the only top-10 finisher from the area in that race, crossing the finish line in 10th at (21:57.21). Lucy Shoup (22:23.49), Brailyn Johnson (22:41.99) and Elizabeth Logan (24:18.29) all finished in the top 50.
Pentwater and Hesperia were the only additional squads to qualify for team finishes. Both were at the bottom of the pack, with Pentwater in 11th and Hesperia in 12th out of 12 teams.
Hesperia’s Kennedy Mey was the top finisher for the Panthers by a mile with a 26th place finish (23:19.05). Rokhaya Ruhstorfer (26:49.27), Lyla Coronado (32:01.21), Elyssa Wright (32:50.35), Chloie Cryderman (33:24.48) and Lesly Coronado (33:51.26) rounded out their lineup.
Pentwater was paced by freshman Bailey Case in 43rd (24:14.41) and senior Abby Hughes in 62nd (25:07.42). Ireland Breitner (28:46.28), Lily Smith (28:56.77) and Charlie Swanger (29:05.04) highlighted other top finishers for the Falcons.
North Muskegon had just one girl compete, as sophomore Sylvia Skujins placed 23rd with a time of 23:03.94.
On the other end of the spectrum, cross country powerhouse Hart was the top finisher among area schools in the boy’s big school race. The Pirates finished sixth overall and second out of division three teams, behind only Traverse City St. Francis.
The Pirates top finisher was freshman Bobby Jazwinski who notched a second individual placement (15:48.73) in his first varsity meet. Three other Hart runners were top 40 finishers with Jack Slotman placing 21st (17:21.63), Max Stitt placing 31st (17:35) and Tyler Vanderzanden placing 38th (17:53.79). Pascal Miller (18:55.85), Ethan Schaner (19:08.79) and Bryce VanderKodde (19:10.92) also raced for Hart.
Ludington was the next best finisher as a team, placing ninth. The Orioles were led by junior Noah Lowman who took 29th (17:31.80) and freshman Gabe Grierson in 46th (18:03.15). David Reisterer (18:12.28), Alex Flores (18:32.90), Curtis Fuller (18:42.73), Nevin Slater (18:51.21) and Jack Jubar (19:17:35) rounded out Ludington’s finishers.
Manistee, Montague and Shelby all landed at the bottom of the rankings. The Mariners placed 12th as a team, while the Wildcats landed in 13th and Shelby came in at 14th.
Manistee’s top finisher was junior Christian Schramski in 43rd (18:00.55). Jack O’Donnel (18:10.94), Luke Senters (18:47.85), Kaden Worch (19:13.58) and Ajae Gouker (21:16.52) came in behind Schramski.
For Montague, it was sophomore Noah Raeth that took the top spot for the Wildcats with a 22nd place finish (17:21.83). Finishing behind him were Clay Johnson (18:12.75), Matthew Leatherman (19:53.13), Owen Raeth (20:02.49), Brock Hunter (20:42.94), Jimmy Thommen (22:19.04) and Aiden Ginn (26:42.12).
Shelby’s five runners were led by Iziquiel Picon in 49th place (18:10.04). A pair of seniors followed him in Micah Frye (18:44.25) and Jonathon Carballido (19:24.05). Freshman Alex Crowder (20:38.82) and junior Ethan Fessenden (22:16.35) rounded out the Tigers’ finishers.
In the girl’s big school race, Ludington placed fifth as a team. Two Orioles placed top 20 to lead the way with Summer Brower finishing seventh (18:44.58) and Annabelle Lowman finishing 19th (19:52.04). Nadia Grierson (20:16.79), Mackenzie Keillor (21:17.80), Autumn Brower (21:44.57), Olivia Andersen (22:28.61), Allison Brandt (22:34.91) and Cecelia Ryan (22:40.60) rounded out Ludington’s runners.
Also earning top 10 team finishes were Hart in seventh and Manistee in 10th. Montague was just outside, coming in 12th as a team while Shelby finished 15th out of 17 competing teams.
For Hart, junior phenom Jessie Jazwinski matched her brother’s individual placement with a second place finish (17:35.08) while senior Alyson Enns managed a ninth place finish (18:55.62). Natalie Rosema (21:22.88), Lexie Beth Nienhuis (21:31.19), Lauren Pretty (23:24.27), Kenai Kokx (23:49.13) and Brooklyn Carter (24:59.42) finished behind the Pirates’ top two.
The Mariners’ top finisher was senior Cecilia Postema in 22nd (19:59.99). Audrey Huizinga (23:25.89), Kate Somsel (23:26.10), Georgia Haag (23:26.43), Alayna Edmondson (23:42.13), Gabrielle Senters (28:44.83) and Helana Beaudrie (33:54.88) rounded out finishers for Manistee.
Montague had one runner finish in the top 50 as senior Cammie Erickson placed 49th (21:36.36). Grace Torsch (22:46.88), Emma Pendell (24:00.25), Greta Auch (24:06.30) Erica Hansen (25:24.09), Delaney Schultz (25:24.13) and Grace Reavey (29:43.73) highlighted other Wildcat finishers.
Shelby’s top runner was freshman newcomer Lydia Soelberg in 53rd (21:45.32). The Tigers’ top finisher was then followed by Noel Parker (23:43.46), Grace Hasenbank (23:48.62), Catalina Stong (24:34.95), April Luna (28:03.31) and Willa Van Loon (31:30.12).