The boys cross country team came in seeded 2nd in the Regional 3 cross country meet at Portage yesterday. To place 2nd or even to win this meet for the Eagles it was going to take each Hudsonville runner to match each runner of the #1 seeded team, Portage Central. The talent and ability was there, but to have all top 5 runners run well on the same day is always hard to accomplish. To get this far is an accomplishment within itself. The season started rocky with Nate Schipper getting a concussion due to a motor-cross collision over the weekend, which put him our of training for almost 3 weeks. Then after the MSU meet Devon Main has a skateboard accident and breaks two bones in his foot. This puts him out for almost 3 weeks. The odds were against these guys. But this did not deter the team. Each one stepped up the effort and throughout the season kept getting better and better. Nate became eligible to run and Devon worked on cross training in hopes to be able to finish his senior cross-country season. Fast forward to the Regional meet. All top 7 runners are healthy. The gun goes off and the race begins. At the first mile mark, Garett Smith (Hudsonville’s #1 runner) moves into 2nd place and he holds that to the finish. Devon, Kyle Chamberlain, Derek Sanchez and Ross Helmer move through the crowd of runners and find their matchups. Each one stayed focused and the last half mile you could see determination, hurt, and excitement on their faces as each one finished within a few seconds of each other. Garett, Derek, Kyle and Derek were all region(top 15), Ross was so close coming in at #16, David McManus #23 and Nate Schipper #29. Scoring 57 points to become Regional Champions for only the 3rd time in 12 years.
The Girls were also seeded 2nd behind OK rival Grandville. They too needed to rise to the occasion and match up with other runners to qualify for the state meet. Kelli Jackson did just that by running a lifetime PR, breaking the school record set last year by Alex Berends, and becoming a Regional Champion. Alyssa Sanchez tied her lifetime PR and ran a season best of 18:48 to place 5th. Both of these runners were All-Region. Melanie Helder finished 22nd. She has been battling a hip injury and have not been able to train all season and to finish this high up was exciting. Laura VanderPloeg, Elain Nibbelink, Kasey DeSmit and Anna Buist rounded out the Eagle finishers. The second place team, Grand Haven, had 95 points, Hudsonville had 100 points and the 4th place team, Caledonia had 107 points. These point differences amounted to about 3 seconds.
Congrats to both teams and good luck at the State Finals!