Otsego boys place third at Spartan Elite
Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day.
You’d have a hard time convincing Otsego boys’ cross country coach Steve Long that’s the case.
Taking part in the Elite Division at the Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 13, the Bulldogs put together a third-place showing of 178 points in the 40-team field. That made Otsego the top Division 2 finisher, as winner Brighton (120 points) and runner-up Romeo (154) are top-ranked Division 1 teams in the state.
“The boys ran well for sure,” Long said. “With the top teams in every division and a half a dozen of the top teams from Ohio, this is arguably the most competitive race in the state all year long. So, leaving with a trophy is quite an accomplishment.”
Otsego entered the race ranked fourth in Division 2 behind Fremont, Grand Rapids Christian and Haslett. Those three teams finished sixth, 28th and 10th, respectively.
“Beating Fremont was big, but the top nine ranked teams in the state were all there for Division 2,” Long said. “Walking away as the top Division 2 team was important for our confidence.
“Basically, it just shows what we’re capable of. Our focus doesn’t change. We know that the running well in late October and early November is much more important.”
Junior Colin Mulder was the first Otsego runner to cross the finish line, placing 11th at 16:18, while senior Hunter Zartman (16th at 16:34) and sophomore Chase Brown (31st at 16:49) finished in less than 17 minutes.
“Colin is a stud,” Long said. “That’s it. He’s had a benefit of running behind Alex (Comerford) and Hunter for a year now and learning from them and his passion and work ethic have put him in a position that he can run with the top guys in the state. He’s running with a lot of confidence and I anticipate that he’ll continue to impress.”
Sophomores Mason Kolhoff (53rd at 17:12) and Logan Kolhoff (79th at 17:26) rounded out the scoring runners for Otesgo. Junior Andrew Kubiak (129th at 17:57), freshman Colin Wesseldyk (137th at 18:02) and senior Tyler DeHaan (215th at 18:48) also competed.
“Every team I coach is different,” Long said. “Even though most of the runners are the same as last year, we’re a different team. This year’s team is very motivated and focused and passionate and they raced that way.
“The guys know they’re a tough team. They’re just trying to earn the opportunity to show that at the end of the season. Our focus will be on working hard and staying healthy.”