Lady Wildcats promise to challenge in Gold cross derby

Rylee Cronkright

Ethan Killips

The Yankee Springs Invitational presented itself as a measurement of just how good the Wayland girls’ cross-country team is this season after such a fast start.

The Lady Wildcats finished third, just four points behind South Christian and just three points ahead of host Middleville Thornapple Kellogg.

Caledonia won the meet with an amazingly low 19 team points, South Christian had 75 Wayland 79 and Middleville 82. So the ‘Cats have reason to believe they can move up in perhaps the toughest girls’ cross league in the state and Caledonia is a Division 1 school while Wayland is Division 2.

Furthermore, O-K Gold member Wyoming fielded a boys’ team, but not a girls’.

The Wildcat boys’ squad, meanwhile, turned in its most impressive performance of the season by taking fourth among seven teams, ahead of two O-K Gold rivals, Wyoming and TK.

Sophomore Rylee Cronkright continues to prove she’s the real deal, taking third in the 5K race with a time of 20:14.76. She was bested only by two Caledonia runners, a freshman and a sophomore.

The Fighting Scots, looking a lot like they did 20 years ago when they clobbered everybody on the course, took five of the top seven individual slots.

Wildcat senior Maggie Whitney settled for ninth, still beating out Hamilton rival Audrey Freyhof with a time of 20:51.23.

Sophomore Mie Tornbjerg, a foreign exchange student, checked in 14th for Wayland at 21:31.11, freshman Naomi Oosterhouse was 22nd and senior Abbie Haase 35th.

Freshman Julian Leon had the Wayland boys’ best time at 19:59.4, good for 33rd place. Senior Ethan Killips was was 40th in 20:13.6 and freshman Elijah Gamelin was right behind him in 20:14.11. Sophomores Ian Russell crossed the finish line in 49th place and Jacob Jelsema was 52nd.

Hamilton’s Luke Koopman once again the mindividual medalist of the day in just 16:32.28 and Caledonia then claimed second through seventh places. The Scots ran away with the championship with 20 team points, South Christian had 59, Hamilton 62 and Wayland 138.

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