BELDING – Belding’s final O-K Blue cross country jamboree was a home meet but it was Cedar Springs that was feeling right at home.
The Red Hawks won both the boys and girls meets, winning the boys meet with 37 points, six points better than the runner-up Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern Huskies.
“Cedar Springs has been chasing Northern all year. Northern won the first three meets but Cedar caught them today,” Belding coach John Carlson said. “Northern was ranked No. 5 in the state, Cedar Springs was seven and Sparta’s No. 8.”
Cedar Springs’ girls team scored 36 points in the girls meet, one point better than the Huskies.
The host Redskins were fourth in the boys with 129 points.
“We jumped ahead of Coopersville,” Carlson said. “That was a nice feature of the race today. The first meet of the year Comstock Park beat us, and it was a nice team effort to beat them today.”
The girls, who ran first, were fifth with 143 points.
The boys’ overall winner was Connor Mora of Cedar Springs, who ran the course in 15:45.30.
Belding’s scoring boys were Justin Belding in 23rd (17:33.40), Austen Giles in 24th (17:39.70), Colton Klapko in 26th (17:43.70), Mitchell Jenks in 27th (17:51.90) and Sam Syrjala in 29th (17:57.70).
“It’s been our goal all year to use the power of the team to pull each other along,” Carlson said.
Carlson cited the effort Jenks put out.
“Mitch Jenks has a torn shoulder muscle, and he’s been running with that all season,” he said. “He cut 15 seconds off his time today. Mitch is a wild card that could help us through to the state meet with a good day at regionals.”
The fastest girls in the race were the Weiler sisters, Kenzie and Katie, from the Cedar Springs Red Hawks. Kenzie Weiler, a freshman, was timed at 17:34.40, 36 seconds ahead of her older sister.
Monica Baylis was the top Redskins runner, coming in 12th (20:03.40).
“Monica’s time is the fastest girl runner in Belding history except for Jennie Ornee, and she was a three-time state qualifier,” Carlson said. “Monica has her sights set on getting her time down to make it to MIS.”
Baylis was followed by Charlene Kehoe in 27th (20:54.00), Joesi Krieger in 30th (21:04.80), Rachael Warner in 34th (21:51.60) and Mariah Carlson in 40th (23:13.00).
“Senior team captain Emily Kunkle had her best time today,” Carlson said. “She dropped 20 seconds off her time today.”
Belding is off until the pre-regional meet at Central Montcalm on Monday before the regional meet Oct. 29 at Fish Creek Sportsman’s Club in Carson City.