The Otsego girls took home top honors in their division at the Cougar Falcon Invitational. (Photo by Scott Sullivan)Hunter Zartman was the second runner for the Otsego boys' team. (Photo by Scott Sullivan)

Otsego girls win at Cougar Falcon Invite boys take third place

Jason Wesseldyk

Otsego coach Steve Long admittedly had some concerns about his girls’ team heading into the Cougar Falcon Invitational at the Gainey Sports Complex on Saturday, Sept. 22.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect from the girls going in,” Long said. “I know they’ve got a ton of potential, but they’ve been struggling to get where I thought they should be. And with seven ranked teams in our division, it could have been a tough day for us.”
Fortunately for Long and the Otsego faithful on hand to cheer on the Bulldogs, those concerns proved to be unwarranted.
All five of Otsego’s top runners finished in the top 25 as the Bulldogs finished with 76 points to win the Cougar Division of the race.
The Otsego boys placed third in their race with 69 points, finishing five points behind runner-up Grand Rapids Christian and 11 points behind winner Spring Lake.
Senior Sydney Kubiak led the way for the Otsego girls, coming in seventh with a time of 19:35. Fellow senior Kristen Brylowski was fourth on the team and 20th overall at 20:27.
The other three scoring runners for Otsego were all freshmen.
“Those freshmen ladies especially stepped it up today,” Long said.
Claudia Stachura was the first of those freshmen to finish, placing ninth at 19:48. Joy Wolfe followed in 15th at 20:11, while Elizabeth Burrill was 25th at 20:38.
All three recorded personal records, as did Brylowski.
“When you put all those (personal records) together, you’ve got a pretty good day,” Long said. “I knew they could walk away with the win, but honestly I was surprised at the outcome.
“I really hope this is a turning point for the girls.”
Overall, the Bulldogs had seven lifetime personal bests and four season bests between the varsity, JV and freshman races.
As for the Otsego boys, Long was pleased with the performance.
“I was happy with how the boys performed overall,” he said. “Even though they placed third overall, they were only 11 points behind the second-ranked team in the state. We’ve still got a lot of improvement to come, so I’m excited to see where we go from here.”
Senior Alex Comerford—who recently committed to Syracuse to continue his cross country and track career—posted a 15:20 to finish 41 seconds ahead of runner-up Ben Hylen from Spring Lake to lead Otsego.
Junior Hunter Zartman was fifth at 16:28 and sophomore Colin Mulder was sixth at 16:42.
Freshmen twins Mason and Logan Kolhoff finished 28th and 29th, respectively, with times of 17:35 and 17:39.
“Alex was Alex,” Long said. “It was a great race from him. Hunter and Colin had strong performances as well. But the story of the day was really big improvements coming from our pack runners.
“Mason and Logan Kolhoff had nice (personal records) to round out our scoring. Tyler DeHaan (41st at 18:02) also did a great job to fill out our top seven varsity with a big 45-second (personal record).”
Chase Brown also won the freshmen race with a time of 17:47 to mark his first time under 18 minutes.
“And many of our JV guys had (personal records),” Long said. “In fact, we had nine lifetime personal bests and three more season bests.”


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