Teams place 1-2 at H&B, sweep Falcons in duals
Story and photos by Mike Paige
On September 12, 2020 at the 16th running of the Hill and Bale Invitational hosted by Fremont, the defending Division 2 State Champion Fremont Boys Cross Country team quickly took control of the race seizing the top 5 places by the 1000 meter mark and maintaining that pace throughout the race. Nathan Walker (Sr) led the team setting a new course record of 15:48, besting the old record by 16 seconds (Isaiah VanDoorn Grant 2007). Ben Paige (Sr), Conor Somers (Jr), Josh Zerfas (Sr) and Adam Ward (Sr) finished 2-5 for a sweep of the top five spots and a perfect score of 15 points. Senior Nathan Johnson and freshman John Christensen rounded out the top 7 for Fremont. Grand Rapids Potter’s House (70) and Whitehall (101) finished 2nd and 3rd.
The girls varsity placed 2nd in a tight battle. Taylor Mater (Jr) led the way with a second place finish. Taava Johnson (Jr) finished 11th, Leah Converse (Sr) 16th, Erin Norton (Sr) 25th and Emily Curtis (Sr) 29th.
On September 15, 2020 the Fremont runners hosted Allendale for a dual meet at Fremont’s Branstrom Park course. Senior, Nathan Walker led the team, once again setting a new course record of 16:21. That’s right, 16:21 at the hilly and uneven Branstrom Park course. To date only four runners (Walker, Matthew Zerfas, Riley Klingel and James Lanciaux) have eclipsed the 17 minute mark at the course. But, it was not a one man show. Three other Fremont boys broke the 18 minute mark. Conor Somers ran 17:29 for 2nd place, Ben Paige ran 17:48 for 4th and Joshua Zerfas ran 17:59 for 5th. Senior, Hayden Rhodea of Allendale cracked the top five placing 3rd and running 17:47. Fremont’s Adam Ward, Gavin Schuler, Nathan Johnson and Jackson Fair placed 6th, 7th, 8th and 12th respectively. The boys won the meet 18-45.
The girls race was awesome!!!! Taylor Mater led the race wire to wire to become the 5th fastest girl to ever run the course, clocking in at 20:39. The rest of the race was a battle. At the mile mark there was a tight pack of 6 Allendale girls surrounding Fremont’s Taava Johnson. Close behind was another pack of five girls including Fremont’s Erin Norton, Leah Converse and Emily Curtis battling with two Allendale runners. By the two mile mark, Johnson was trailing Allendale’s top two runners while Norton had caught and was just ahead of Allendale’s next two runners. Converse and Curtis had caught and were jockeying positions with Allendale’s 5th runner. Allendale fought back and with about 700 meters to go their top two had about a 30 meter gap on Johnson and their 3rd and 4th runners had about a 30 meter gap on Norton giving them back the lead. But the Fremont girls owned the last 700 meters. Taava Johnson ran down Allendale’s number 2 runner to finish 3rd overall with a time of 24:00.8. Erin Norton held off Allendale’s fourth runner to finish 6th overall, coming in at 25:12.8. And in an epic finish, Emily Curtis (25:21.6) and Leah Converse (25:22.2) of Fremont finished just ahead of Jenna Hinken (25:22.6) of Allendale in the 8-10 spots to secure a 27-28 victory for the Fremont girls. It was fantastic display of head to head racing. Freshman Elise Pfeiffer and senior Sierra Horton rounded out the top 7 Fremont girls runners.