Mattawan's Thomas Meeker wins Division 1 cross country regional title, heads back to state meet
"It's great for the training to finally come together and finish with a win here at regionals," Meeker said.
Mattawan coach Scott Banghart said after Meeker won the conference title, he set his sights on the regional crown and never doubted that he could win it.
"That experience that he has you can't get anywhere else," Banghart said. "He knows how he likes to race and he doesn't allow other people to take him out of his racing mode. He knows where his strengths are; he knows when he's got to put the pressure on and a lot of times he just kind of surprises people because off he goes and people think he's going to come back, but once he gets out there, he's not coming back to you."
Joining Meeker at the state finals next Saturday at Michigan International Speedway will be his teammates, Aaron Bell and Benny Richardson, who finished sixth (16:43) and 15th (16:58), respectively. Mattawan finished fourth as a team with 131 points, behind Okemos (56), Caledonia (86) and East Kentwood (91).
Portage Northern junior Alec Sullivan earned his first trip to the state finals with a 10th-place finish (16:52). He said a longer training program and more confidence helped push him into the finals this year after a disappointing finish last fall.
"A different attitude, definitely," he said. "Just thinking that I can do it."