The Wayland girls’ and boys’ varsity cross-country teams both placed fifth in the latest O-K Gold Conference jamboree Tuesday at Johnson Park in Wyoming.
The Lady Wildcats, despite missing the services of two of their top seven runners, were only 16 points away from third place in the competition.
Sophomore Rylee Cronkright, according to coach Sue Brewer, “started strong and never looked back, leading all of the O-K Gold runners midway through the race to the finish, posting an impressive 19:58.”
Cronkright was individual medalist and the only female runner during the day to complete the rugged 5,00-meter course in less than 20 minutes.
Senior captain Maggie Whitney was second for her team with a time of 21:04.
East Grand Rapids again led the pack with a team score of 27, GR Christian had 46 and Forest Hills Eastern 100. The Wildcats had 116.
Wayland was competing without No. 3 runner Mie Tornberg and seventh Payton Sidebotham, but Brewer said their teammates filled in the gaps.
Junior Zoe Antel ran shoulder to shoulder with freshman Naomi Oosterhouse to finish third among Wildcats (22:12) and fourth (22:16) respectively, for the ‘Cats. Senior captain Abbie Hasse finished fifth for her team with a 23:22 time.
In the boys’ race, the Wildcats tied with Thornapple Kellogg at 163 points, but sixth man Ian Russell was faster than TK’s sixth and broke the tie.
Leading the way for the Wildcats was freshman, Elijah Gamelin, with a time of 19:03. He was followed by Gabe Attruia (19:53), Jarod Geerligs (20:14), Jacob Jelsema (20:46), Ethan Killips (21:03), Ian Russell (21:10) and Andrew VanBaal (22:01).
Both of the Wayland teams will compete in the prestigious annual Portage Invitational Saturday.