I Have To Jump Over What?
Fremont hosts annual Hill and Bale cross country meet on Saturday, September 10
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
We sat around the pool at the house of a Newaygo athlete after having enjoyed spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and maybe a cookie or two. The Lions Cross Country team most Fridays before Saturday meets celebrates with this tradition of team dinner. It starts with practice at the athlete’s house, followed by dinner, and then some sort of team bonding. This day it happened to be watching the boys team members play a few rounds of chicken in the pool.
I was sitting by the group of exchange students who have blessed our team with their participation since having arrived not long ago in Newaygo with jet lag and an excitement for a sport that boasts great team chemistry. The day was not disappointing in that regard. As is expected, they had many questions about what the next day’s meet would bring.
“We get to ride a bus to the meet?”
“Yes, we sure do.”
“HOW far, again, is this run?”
(Brazilian exchange student’s eyes get very large): “Every time???”
“Don’t worry. You can do it. Just remember, this meet is very different. You run the 5k but you have to jump or run over bales of straw.”
(Brazilian exchange student again, whose eyes remained wide): “Wait. What does that mean? What are bales of straw?”
“Well, you know straw? Like you would see on a farm? They cut that and pack it into rectangular shapes and tie it together with string. Then they stack some of those on top of each other and you have to climb over it about 10 times throughout the race.”
I was surprised she showed up the next day after witnessing the look on her face after having explained it.
“Honestly, though, it’s fun,” I said with a smile.
And I meant it! Many athletes find it to be one of their favorite ways to start the season due to its unique format. The weather proved to be challenging in that it was hot and muggy even early in the morning. But the competition was fantastic and the crowd was even better.
Below are the results from Newaygo county coaches for Fremont, Newaygo and White Cloud.
Full results can be found here - https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/206160/results
From Coach Somers at Fremont:
The boys had a 1:13 1-5 split on their way to a second place finish (52 pts) to Whitehall (44 pts). Sean Pettis (Jr) led the way for the Pack with a 5th place finish in 18:13. We tried to stay packed up through the mile mark and see what happened from there. We didn’t quite make it to the mile mark before breaking up, but I felt it was a pretty solid outing for our first race of the season. Freshman Issac Romero turned in a really gutsy performance. He really worked hard the second half of the race to move up into the last medal position. Athletes who improved over last year's times were.
Sean Pettis – 1 minute
John Christensen – 6 seconds
Gary Springstead 9 seconds
Blake Taylor – 42 seconds
Our varsity squad included Sean, Johnny Christensen (jr), Cole Lowery (So), Issac, and Blake Taylor (So)
Brandon Rasmussen (So) did a good job in his first race fighting to stay in the top 15 to earn a medal. He wound up placing 15th by ½ a second.
We ran two girls in the varsity race, Linnea Paige (Fr) and Ariana Tanner (Fr). Linnea led the way running a fantastically controlled race. She got out very controlled, moved up through the 2nd mile, and dealing with the suffering in the 3rd mile to place 2nd. Ari’s goal was to break 25:50 in the race. She also ran a great race. She was hurting in the last 1000, but really competed with a runner from Wyoming Lee the whole way. She beat her goal by 35 seconds to place 19th.
Joelle Patten (Fr) led the way for the Pack with a fantastic race to place 2nd in 25:52. Rocquel Richards turned in a strong run in the finish stretch to finish 9th (Fr), Rachel Maddox 13th (So), and Elise Pfeiffer 15th (So) rounded out our group. Another group of solid performances for our first race.
From Coach Mercer at Newaygo:
We are back to a full roster after a year of small numbers last year. It was exciting to see the new jerseys sporting the Newaygo N logo and excitement for many of the boys’ first high school cross country meets! Jadon Ryman led the way for the Lions with a time of 22:05 and fellow junior Mathew Miedema was right on his heels with a 22:10. Rounding out the top five were freshman Caleb Bays, senior Bryce Grugett, and freshman Zachary Spaulding.
From the time the gun went off, junior Remington Arney was with the lead pack of four and she maintained that status straight through to the finish with her 4th place medal and a time of 21:56. Next for the Lady Lions was senior Elizabeth Chaffee (25:01) and then three Lions right in a row with Aamori Paz (26:45), Zoey Walerczyk (27:07) and Thalia Pineda (27:19) finishing out for the scoring five.
Joining the three exchange students who would be participating in their first every cross country meet in the United States were 7 other athletes with the Newaygo N on their jerseys. Only 2 of the 10 had ever run in a high school cross country meet before! They all finished having given it their all and earned a runner-up trophy for the JV division. Leading the Lions in this race was senior Sofia Briggs (29:11), followed by Rebecca Grandy, Sydney Biegalle, Joseline Sanchez Magana and Yuri Kasugai in the top five.
From Coach Atwood at White Cloud:
On Saturday, September 10, the White Cloud High School Cross Country team competed at the Fremont Hill and Bale Invitational. The boys finished third behind powerhouses Wyoming Potter's House and West Michigan Christian. Coleson Cruzan finished sixth and Carson Foondle was 14th, both earning medals for their performances. Rounding out the top seven were Malachi Graves and Kaleb Canning, 21st and 22nd respectively. Christain Ringler was 24th, Wyatt Karnes 27th and Avery Bowman was 30th. The girls finished in fifth place with Annie Feldpausch in 16th place as our first girl. She was followed by Kiara Edwards (21st), Jolena Deaton (22nd), Brooklyn Foondle (23rd), Gaby Reeve (30th), and Grace Richards (33rd) In the JV race, Donnie Grovesteen posted a ninth place finish and bringing home a medal as our best reserve runner. Keagan Kailing was 19th, Jarrett Warlick 20th,and Zane Keith 26th. Competing in the Packer division, the JV girls ran a tight group with Makayla Sheldon finishing 36th, Sydnee Ochs 42nd, Lillie Keith 43rd and Chloe Higgs 44th.
Posting season best times were Zane Keith, Christian Ringler, Chloe Higgs, Lillie Keith, and Grace Richards.
Donnie Grovesteen, Jarret Warlick, and Gaby Reeve set personal best times.