The Portage Invitational every year is billed as the “pre-state meet” in which huge numbers of teams runners participate. Indeed, there were 50 teams in Division 2, and the Wayland girls finished 21st and Hopkins was 45th. For the boys, Hopkins was 44th and Wayland 47th.
Hopkins customarily has competed in Division 3, but this year was moved up to Division 2.
The best individual performance for the two schools on the day was Wildcat sophomore Rylee Cronkright’s second straight sub-20-minute outing. She crossed the finish line in 19:50, good for 14th place and a medal and she finished ahead of all competitors in the O-K Gold Conference again. Senior Maggie Whitney was 79th in 21:09, sophomore foreign exchange student Mie Tornbjerg was 171st in 22:33, followed by freshman Naomi Oosterhouse in 177th, junior Zoe Antel in 195th, senior Abbie Hasse in 215th and junior Sydney Heilkema in 266th.
Wayland finished the day with 636 team points. Dearborn Divine Child was the winner with 169 and O-K Gold Conference rival Grand Rapids Christian was second with 185.
Junior Jasmine Fisher led Hopkins with a 33rd-place finish in 20:17. Sophomore Gracie DeZeeuw was 231st, Alyssa Beilby was 237th, freshman Emilee Schumaker 309th and junior Hannah Crouch 311th.
Two of the Lady Vikings’ top runners, Laura Velderman and Emma Helder, did not compete.
Lansing Catholic won the boys’ race with 103 team points and Chelsea was runner-up with 115.
Sophomore Todd Henley once again was the top racer for the Viking boys, checking in 30th, followed by Dan Rausch 88th, Jake Pastoor 294th, Joe Ludlam 311th and Jonathan Beckwith 319th.
Ethan Killips again led the Wildcats boys in 19:35, 211th place, and Elijah Gamelin was 215th in 19:38, followed by Gabe Attruia 252nd, Ian Russell 257th and Jacob Jelsema 275th.
There were almost 400 runners in the boys’ competition and almost 350 girls.