Maple Valley's Hope Taggart runs along the peninsula at Gun Lake during the Kellogg Division girls' race at Thornapple Kellogg's annual Coach B Invitational Monday afternoon. (Photo by Brett Bremer)
Maple Valley's Ashton Ripley, Ben Benedict and Curtis Walker raced to medal-winning times in the Kellogg Division (for smaller schools) race at Monday afternoon's Thornapple Kellogg Coach B Invitational at Gun Lake.
Ripley, a freshman, led the Lion team with his 13th-place time of 19 minutes 23.90 seconds. Benedict was 17th in 19:32.28 and Walker 20th in 20:04.03.
“For the first time they had only around 40 seconds of time between our first and third runner,” Maple Valley head coach Tiffany Blakely said. “Junior Curtis Walker had an incredible race. Knowing he had to put in a fast race to medal, he stayed as close to Benedict and Ripley as he could. Normally there is a minute difference between his time and Benedict's, but today only 30 seconds. Just shows how much work he put into the race.”
The Maple Valley boys' team also had Torin Bell 33rd in 20:59.8 and Trevor Duffey 55th in 23:35.7.
“Bell also had a great race, finally feeling great, he was able to take off nearly two minutes to run a personal best time and stayed within a minute of our top three runners,” Blakely said.
The Grand Rapids Track Club Peregrines outran West Michigan Aviation for the boys' championship, 32-41. Libertas Christian was third with 106 points, ahead of Grand River Prep 111, Maple Valley 112 and West Catholic 120.
West Catholic senior Edward Frey won the boys' race in 17:50.33, with the Peregrines putting Zak Grabill second in 18:06.30 and Israel Nobel third in 18:08.58.
Freshman Hope Taggart pushes for a medal-winning spot, but came up just short placing 33rd in 26:43.1.
“She had an outside chance and really had to run the race of her life,” Blakely said. “Her first mile was very strong, and she held it as long as she could. She ran with everything today, and seeing her exhausted at the end told me how aggressive she was during the race.”
Her teammate Alyson Gusey placed 71st in 39:09.5.
“ Gusey ran a course best time, and both girls ran their second fastest time of the season,” Blakely said. “They are still keeping on track with their goals of improvement in each race.”
West Catholic took the girls' championship in the Kellogg Division with 42 points, ahead of Grand Rapids Track Club 57, West Michigan Aviation 66, Hopkins 104, Libertas Christian 111, Grand River Prep 138 and Godwin Heights 195.
Grand Rapids Track Club sophomore Jana Stiffler was the individual champ in the girls' race with a time of 21:01.25.
The Lions had just raced Saturday at the Battle Creek Lakeview Invitational at Riverside Elementary.
The Lion boys' team was fourth out of eight teams, led by Ripley's 40th-place time of 18:05.4.