Taylor Conner was one of three medalists for the Saugatuck girls’ cross country team at the Portage Invitational. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Saugatuck cross teams place second in Portage

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

The annual Portage Invitational has gained a reputation for featuring a veritable who’s who when it comes to high school cross country.
This year’s race was no different.
The boys’ and girls’ Division 3 races each included 10 state-ranked teams, with the boys’ race boasting a total of 42 teams and the girls’ race boasting a total of 39 teams.
And in both of those races Saugatuck managed to secure a runner-up finish.
The Saugatuck girls finished with 161 points to place second behind winner Hart and its 52-points total. The Indians defeated the following ranked teams: No. 2 Benzie Central (fourth at 182), No. 5 Grandville Calvin Christian (third at 179), No. 7 Traverse City St. Francis (fifth at 185), No. 8 Jackson Lumen Christi (13th at 434), No. 9 Leslie (11th at 371), No. 10 Shepherd (seventh at 231), No. 12 Kent City (sixth at 227) and No. 14 Hanover Horton (17th at 489).  
On the boys’ side, the Indians put together a 203-point effort that was second to Hanover and its total of 117 points. Ranked teams beaten by the boys’ team were: No. 4 Hart (fourth at 255), No. 7 Benzie Central (10th at 304), No. 8 Kent City (sixth at 261), No. 9 Shepherd (ninth at 284), No. 11 Holland Black River (third at 217), No. 12 Leslie (11th at 304), No. 14 Montrose (eighth at 265) and No. 15 Grant (fifth at 256).
Three Saugatuck girls earned medals, led by Thea Johnson. Posting a time of 19:28, Johnson missed out on the top 10 by one spot as she finished 11th.
Taylor Conner was 13th at 19:33 and Natalie Martinson was 18th at 19:40. Megan Jenkins (62nd at 21:11) and Lily Francis (66th at 21:22) rounded out Saugatuck’s scoring runners.
A trio of Saugatuck boys also medaled, with Corey Gorgas placing second at 16:03, Nik Pettinga placing fifth at 16:30 and Keegan Seifert placing 17th at 17:03. Ray Bartlett (81st at 18:12) and Corbin Blink (100th at 18:32) were the other two scoring runners for the Indians.
Hopkins cometed in both the boys’ and girls’ Division 2 race, while Plainwell competed in the Division 2 girls’ race.
For Hopkins, Jasmine Fisher placed 33rd at 20:17 to lead her team, while Todd Henley (32nd at 17:12) and Dan Rausch (92nd at 18:10) had the top showings for the Hopkins boys’ team.
Plainwell’s Mya Veen was 36th for the Trojans with a time of 20:27.

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