SARANAC – Belding’s boys cross country team enjoyed a break from stiff O-K Blue competition with a victory at the Saranac Color Run.
“It’s fun to escape the O-K Blue every once in a while,” coach John Carlson said. “It feels like we’re in purgatory.”
The Redskin boys won the event with a score of 40 points. That was 34 better than host Saranac and 44 better than Delton Kellogg.
“Our guys ran well today on the toughest course we will see all year,” Carlson said. “Coach (Jason) Smith from Saranac suggested that the hills added 35-40 seconds to your time.”
Central Montcalm was fifth with 144, Tri County was sixth with 151 and Carson City-Crystal was seventh with 172.
Belding was led by Colton Klapko, who was sixth (17:58.7), Mitchell Jenks, who was seventh (18:02.6) and Austin Giles, who was eighth (18:09.9). Justin Belding added a 10th (18:11.7) and Sam Syrjala added a 15th (18:36.4).
“Mitchell Jenks is coming around,” Carlson said. “He has had a few health problems but he has been working through a sore neck and back.”
Central’s Tyler Sleet ran the second-best time of the day with a 17:23.7 clocking. His scoring teammates were Caden King in 25th (18:59.0), Michael Rolfe in 29th (19:13.1), Tyler Burns in 41st (20:11.2) and Todd Switzer in 60th (20:49.4).
Tri County’s top five boys were Keegan Brewster in ninth (18:10.9), Trent Slavens in 18th (18:41.1), James Ryan in 33rd (19:34.1), Elijah Groendal in 45th (20:26.8) and Ben Durian in 58th (20:44.2).
Leading CC-Crystal was Tyler Craig in 11th (18:12.1). He was followed by Lucas McCrackin in 30th (19:18.2), Kolton Cavanaugh in 34th (19:44.6), Caleb Geselman in 40th (20:10.0) and Logan McClintic in 84th (22:26.2).
Comstock Park won the girls race with 56 points. Saranac was second with 72, Delton Kellogg was third with 75, Belding was fourth with 86, CC-Crystal was fifth with 107, Tri County was sixth with 127 and Central Montcalm was ninth with 273.
“Our girls had a great race today,” Carlson said. “We love to tell ourselves that ‘the hill is our friend’ and they really bought into that approach today. They really stayed positive in spite of the challenging course.”
Belding was led by a pair of freshmen. Monica Baylis was fifth overall (21:18.2) and Joesi Krieger was 12th (22:13.5). Charlene Kehoe added a 14th (22:32.2), Rachael Warner was 19th (23:11.9) and Emily Kunkle was 38th (25:10.0).
“Monica Baylis is continuing to have a solid freshman year,” Carlson said. “She really works hard everyday. All of her summer miles help keep her strong.”
Kaitlyn Beyer of the Eagles was second overall (20:14.4). Her scoring teammates were Elizabeth McCrackin in 11th (22:12.8), Gabrielle Hummel in 27th (24:12.3), Maria Geselman in 30th (24:24.3) and Lindsay McClintic was 40th (25:30.5).
The top five for the Vikings were Briana Snyder in eighth (21:37.5), Ivy Boden in 18th (23:04.7), Alexis Whitlow in 31st (24:30.1), Cassie Dexter in 32nd (24:33.3) and Karlie Haywood in 42nd (25:48.1).
For the Green Hornets, Daycia Case was 61st (28:00.9), Bethany Wheeler was 65th (28:31.1), Scylar Blaisdale was 69th (29:32.8), Cecile Busk was 71st (29:58.5) and Sophia Johnson was 72nd (30:06.3).