Greenville boy runners ‘learned’ in down season

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 10:07 am on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Greenville senior Chris Jacobsen leads the early charge during a run this season.

GREENVILLE — It was a tough season for Greenville’s boys cross country team.

The Yellow Jackets were in the bottom of the O-K Bronze Conference for most of the season.

“But the league was loaded for bear,” coach Eric Nichols said. “We had an individual state champ in the kid from Cedar Springs (Austin Sargent). Forest Hills Northern and Forest Hills Eastern were top in the state so the competition was outstanding.”

Their best result was at the end of the season, when they took third at the Central Montcalm pre-regional run.

“I thought that we came and we learned to compete every meet that we ran, which I thought was a sign of growth and maturity in these boys,” Nichols said. “We were senior dominant and I think they ran with a sense of urgency.”

Nichols had a highlight to the season.

“We had 13 career PRs (personal records) at the fourth O-K Bronze jamboree that was run at Boulder Creek Golf Course,” he said.

Nichols listed three boys that were standouts in his mind.

“I think our most improved runner was Jared Milner, who last year wasn’t quite sure what cross country was, but he became our number two runner before he was injured at the tail end of the season,” he said. “I thought Chris Jacobsen had a great senior season and was our number two runner. Then Kenny Wood was our No. 1 runner. He got better as the year went on.”

Getting back to the senior-dominant team, those seniors will have to be replaced, Nichols noted.

“We’ll have to replace five of our top seven runners,” he said. “We have got Steven Hilliker, who was our top freshman runner this year, and Andrew Mason, who was our top sophomore runner. Those kids will come back and I think they both figured out running high school cross country as the season went on. Andrew did not run last year so it was new for him as well.”

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