Five county teams all send harriers to MIS
The 2019 All-Barry County Boys' Cross Country Teams. First team members include (front from left) Aidan Makled, Nathan Alford, Jon Arnold, Ashton Ripley, Matt Lester, Nick Bushman and Micah Ordway. Second team members include (back from left) Blake Harris, Josh Brown, Ben Benedict, Braden Tolles, Amon Smith III, Brennan Lutz and Hector Jimenez.
Every Barry County varsity boys' cross country team was represented at the Lower Peninsula State Finals at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn at the end of the season.
The Hastings varsity boys' cross country team qualified for the State Finals for the second time in program history, placing 17th as a team. Hastings senior Aidan Makled in Division 2 and Delton Kellogg junior Micah Ordway in Division 3 both earned spots among the 30 state medalists in their races at MIS – the first state medal for each.
Hastings had the best finish of Interstate-8 Athletic Conference team at the D2 State Finals, finishing ahead of league foes Harper Creek and Marshall who had bested them in the conference standings this season.
Here are the 2019 All-Barry County Boys' Cross Country First and Second Teams.
2019 All-Barry County
Boys' Cross Country First Team
Nathan Alford, Lakewood: A junior, Alford ran the fastest race of his high school career so far at his team's Division 2 Regional race at Uncle John's Cider Mill to qualify for the state finals for the first time. He placed eighth at regionals in a personal record time of 16 minutes 25.1 seconds.
Alford won the first Greater Lansing Activities Conference jamboree of the season and was the runner-up at the Barry County Meet in 17:35.8. He closed out the year by placing 65th at the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals in 17:01.1.
Jon Arnold, Hastings: Arnold as one of two Saxons to earn first team all-conference honors this season, placing seventh at the I-8 Championship in Turkeyville. He helped the Saxon team earn a spot in the state finals by setting a personal record at his team's Division 2 Regional race, hitting the finish line in Portage in 17:04.7.
Arnold placed third at the Barry County Meet in 17:49.3.
Nick Bushman, Thornapple Kellogg: A senior running his second season of varsity cross country, Bushman led the Trojans all season long and qualified for the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals for the first time.
He placed 141st at the state finals, after qualifying for the trip to MIS with a 12th-place time of 16:59.7 at his team's Division 2 Regional in Portage. Bushman was sixth at the Barry County Meet in 17:53.9.
Matt Lester, Delton Kellogg: Lester, a senior, qualified for the Division 3 Lower Peninsula State Finals for the second consecutive fall by placing eighth at his regional race in Allendale with a time of 17:05.0. He placed 58th at the state finals.
Lester set his personal record Oct. 5 at the Portage Invitational, placing 30th in the D3 boys' race in 17:00.3. Lester placed fifth at the Barry County Invitational in 17:51.5.
Aidan Makled, Hastings: Makled closed out his senior cross country season on the medal stand at the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals after placing 22nd at MIS in a time of 16:26.2. It was Makled's third appearance in the state finals.
Makled was the Barry County Meet champion this year, winning the race at Charlton Park in 17:07.5 after finishing as the runner-up at regionals and at at the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference Championship.
Micah Ordway, Delton Kellogg: Ordway qualified for the state finals for the second straight fall and got to run at the finals for the first time after having to miss the competition at the end of his sophomore campaign. Ordway closed his junior season on the medal stand at the Division 3 Lower Peninsula State Finals after running a 30th-place time of 16:47.8. - a new personal record.
Ordway shaved nearly 15 seconds off of his previous personal record at the state finals. He placed seventh at the Barry County Meet in 17:59.9.
Ashton Ripley, Maple Valley: The Lion freshman ended his first varsity cross country season running in the Division 3 Lower Peninsula State Finals. He placed 73rd at MIS with a time of 17:29.1.
Ripley placed seventh at all three GLAC races this fall, and added a seventh place finish at his team's Division 3 Regional race in Allendale to qualify for the state finals. He set a new personal record at regionals, hitting the finish line in 17 minutes 3.7 seconds.
2019 All-Barry County
Boys' Cross Country Second Team
Ben Benedict, Maple Valley: A senior, Benedict closed out his high school cross country career by placing tenth at the Barry County Meet days after running his fastest race ever. Benedict placed 24th at the Lions' Division 3 Regional in Allendale with a personal record time of 17:58.9.
Benedict finished as high as 14th in the Greater Lansing Activities Conference this fall, putting together his best conference race at the GLAC Championship last month.
Josh Brown, Hastings: Brown, a senior, ran the fastest race of his varsity career at the Division 2 Regional race in Portage at the end of the season, placing 24th in 17:24.7. That helped the Saxon team qualify for the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals for the second time ever.
He finished in under 18 minutes again at the State Finals after a ninth-place finish at the Barry County Meet.
Blake Harris, Hastings: As a junior, Harris was an individual state qualifier. He helped the Saxon team to a spot in the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals as a senior by placing 25th at his team's regional race in Portage at the end of the season.
Harris was right around 17:30 throughout the final month of the 2019 season, placing 126th at the state finals in 17:28.8 after an eighth-place finish at the Barry County Meet.
Hector Jimenez, Delton Kellogg: Jimenez closed out a solid freshman season for the Panthers by placing 14th at the Barry County Meet in 19:10.3.
He had a couple of great October races for the Panthers, finishing in less than 18 minutes for the first time at the One Last PR Invite in Otsego and then dropping his PR to 17:55.0 at his team's Division 3 Regional in Allendale where he placed 22nd.
Brennan Lutz, Thornapple Kellogg: Lutz closed out his junior season by placing 13th at the Barry County Meet in 18:53.5, following up on a solid regional showing two days earlier in Portage.
Lutz broke the 18-minute mark for the first time Oct. 5 at the Portage Invitational, finishing in a new personal record time of 17:59.2.
Amon Smith III, Delton Kellogg: After running at Caledonia High School as a freshman, Smith joined the Delton Kellogg program for his sophomore season and was one of the fastest Panthers. He placed 12th at the Barry County Meet in 18:46.1.
Smith set a personal record by finishing the Portage Invitational in 18:18.1 and followed that up by placing 18th at the SAC Championship in 18:25.8.
Braden Tolles, Hastings: Tolles closed out his senior season running in the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals with the Saxon team.
He had his best finish of the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference season at the league championship, placing 21st overall. He followed that up with his fastest time of the season, 17:46.3, at Hastings' regional race. Tolles, the Hastings homecoming king, placed 11th at the Barry County Meet.