Boys and girls cross country team excel at state meet

November 24, 2015


Brianna Moynihan

The boys cross country team speeds away from the starting line at the state meet on Nov. 7. The Bucs qualified for the state race after a first place finish at regionals. They went on to receive 20th place out of 27 teams at state.

The boys in their blue warm-ups. The girls in their hand crafted shirts. A deafening cheer erupted from the student

body as they entered the rotunda. The cross country team marched through the crowd of students, handing out high fives and hugs as the marching band sent them off to the MHSAA state cross country meet with the school fight song.
The boys team was able to advance all seven of their varsity runners after taking first place at the regional meet on Oct. 31. Sophomore Jack Nicholson took first place individually at regionals with time of 16:11, his teammates finishing close behind allowing them all to qualify for the state meet, an achievement that Grand Haven has not experienced for a couple years now.

“In the past we’ve gone with one or two athletes and the experience is diminished when you don’t go with your team,” boys head coach John Tarr said. “Every great runner that we’ve had that have gone by themselves said, ‘I wish my teammates would’ve gone with me.”

According to Tarr, the trip to the International Speedway for the state meet this year was not only more enjoyable because the whole team was there but also because of the successful season they have had.

“It was bigger this year because of our regional win, I think they were even more

Freshman Gabby Hentemann keeps up with two runners from Waterford Mott high school at the state cross country meet on Nov. 7.
Brianna Moynihan
Freshman Gabby Hentemann keeps up with two runners from Waterford Mott high school at the state cross country meet on Nov. 7.

excited about going because they had the confidence that they are one of the best teams in the state of Michigan,” Tarr said.

That confidence paid off. At the state meet on Nov. 7, the team ran with conviction, allowing them a 20th place finish out of 27 teams. Nicholson was the first runner in for Grand Haven, only two positions away from all-state nominations with a time of 15:57. Other honorable mentions are juniors Quentin Couvelaire and Eric Johnson finishing with times of 16:35 and 16:37 respectively.

“Overall, I think this season was one of the best we’ve had in awhile,” Nicholson said. “Everybody came into the season with high expectations, and in the end, we had seemed to fulfill those expectations and prove that we can handle being number two in the conference and being regional champs.”

The girls team has been successful in previous years, always sending the whole team to the state meet. To continue this tradition the team needed to finish in the top three at regional.

“At first we did not think we made it, we were devastated,” junior Andrea Strainer said.

But the Buccaneers were able to sneak in with a third place finish at regional that guaranteed their spot at the state meet.

“When coach P. said we have one more race left in the season we were all shocked and tears started rushing down our faces, we were all very fortunate to be able to race again one last time,” Strainer said.

The team traveled to the state meet with high expectations in mind. Last year they were the 20th seed but this year they were seeded at 18th.

“We didn’t limit ourselves with our goals,” senior Hannah Kenny said. “If we would have set our goal as just qualifying or being in the top 20, we would just be satisfied with being average and wouldn’t have been as motivated to push ourselves so hard, so our goal was to win every time, we needed to believe that, to remind ourselves that we are capable of anything we work for.”

They took these higher expectations in strides, succeeding their seed and claiming 16th out of 27 overall.

“We were 2nd in the O-K Red, which is like being first anywhere else in the state,” head girls coach, Scott Przystas said. “Third at regional, earning our 16th straight trip to the finals. I think we had a successful season.”

Freshman Gabby Hentemann lead the way for the Bucs finishing 17th overall individually and earning all-state with a time of 18:21.7. Junior Eliza Lowe and freshman Abby Buitenhuis also both had successful races, achieving lifetime personal bests.

“I went into the race thinking simple,” Lowe said. “I just wanted to pass the girl in front of me and then move on to the next, and it worked.”

Although the boys and girls teams finished successful seasons, they are already using looking towards next season..

“Going to states has improved our team for next year,” Strainer said. “We have the determination to do better next year.”

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