Sparked by outstanding debut performances by freshmen Zoe Antel and sophomore Kaitlyn Paul, the Lady Wildcats accumulated 38 team points, five better than runner-up Hamilton, which has become accustomed to winning Wayland’s annual season opening competition.
The boys’ team finished second to Hamilton, highlighted by senior Perry Carter’s medalist performance and a third place from Owen Glass.
Antel and Paul individually finished fifth and sixth, respectively, with times of 22:28 and 22:31. The rugged course has never been a fast one, as medalist Erika Freyhof of Hamilton was the only female runner to come in under 20 minutes. She was clocked at 19:37 and her sister, Audrey, was runner-up at 20:52.
Coach Sue Brewer’s Lady Wildcats captured five of the top 10 spots, and needed those kinds of support performances to pull out the victory. Senior Mackenzy Kasper was eighth in 23:10.01, edging Maggie Whitney at the wire at 23:10.19 and Emily Isenhoff rounded out the scoring by taking 10th place in 23:13.
Laura Velderman finished seventh to lead Hopkins, in 22:38. Madison Snoeyink finished 14th, Samantha Myers was 16th, Jasmine Fisher 20th and Emma Helder 31st. The Vikings took fourth place.
Other teams in the competition were North Pointe Christian, Allegan and Kelloggsville.
In the boys’ race, Carter was six seconds faster than runner-up Mark Freyhof of Hamilton, checking in with a time of 17:41. Glass crossed the finish line in 18:09.
The only other Wildcat to crack the top 10 was Jonathan Zuiderveen, who was eighth in 18:59. Sophomore Ethan Killips was 16th and Derek Huffman 21st. Coach Steve Harcourt’s group put together 49 points, but Hamilton had just 27.
Sophomore Ethan Nagel led Hopkins with a time of 19:54, good for 14th. Fellow sophomore James Wubben was 15th in 20:34, Michael Heppe finished 24th, Nick Belka 25th and Dan Raush 28th. The Viking boys finished fifth in the six-team competition with 98 total points.
Both Hopkins and Wayland girls’ and boys’ teams will compete in the Kelloggsville Invitational next Thursday at the South Christian High School sports complex.
PHOTOS: It was a splendid debut for Wildcat freshmen Zoe Antel (right) and Kaitlyn Paul, who finished fifth and sixth to lead their team to a Wayland Invitational championship.
Seniors Perry Carter (right) and Owen Glass finished 1-3 to help the Wayland boys take the runner-up slot in the Wayland Invitational.