North Muskegon boys place third at cross country state finals

North Muskegon boys place third at cross country state finals

Provided by Shawn Liverance | The Muskegon Chronicle

BROOKLYN — The North Muskegon boys team came up short in its bid to repeat as state champions at Saturday's Division 4 state finals meet at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

The Norsemen finished in third place with 131 points. Concord won its second state title in three years with 64 points and Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart took second with 99 points.

Hesperia finished in sixth place with 206 points.

It was the third straight season that North Muskegon has finished in the top three at the state finals.

"We ran pretty well today," North Muskegon coach Gary Neal said. "It was some very tough competition, but I was very happy with our finish."

Leading the Norsemen was junior Jacob Chovaz, who became a three-time all-state runner by placing in the Top 30 once again. Chovaz finished eighth overall in a time of 16:32.

Joining Chovaz as repeat all-state runners for the Norsemen were seniors Mathias Waterstradt (18th) and Alex Benham (23rd). Rounding out NM's team were Thayer Lowe (62nd) and Wesley Collins (77th).

Hesperia finished in the Top 10 for the eighth straight season, including state championships in 2004 and 2006.

"We had some struggles this season, so I am real happy with our finish," Hesperia coach Doug Baird said. "We went with the guys who wanted to be here. It was fine to finish once again in the Top 10."  

The Panthers, who also finished in sixth place at last year's state finals, were led by Jeff Cherry who repeated as an all-state runner by placing fourth overall in a time of 16:17. 

The other Hesperia runners were Travess Smith (42nd), Damien Halverson (65th), Michael Bolton (75th) and Dillon Cook (117th).

Fremont Providence Christian's Nick Vanderkooi became a three-time all-state runner, finishing 11th.

DIVISION 1: Highland Milford won the team title with 128 points, followed by Hartland and Waterford Mott. Grand Haven finished in 12th place and was led by all-state runner Ryan Duff, who took 14th. Schalk Vanniekerk (47th), Justin Pippel (53rd), Turner Sale (98th) and Dylan Tarr (186th) rounded out the Grand Haven runners.

DIVISION 2: Mason won the team title with 92 points and was followed by St. Joseph and Ionia. Orchard View's Ben Deuling placed 28th to become an all-state runner with a time of 16:20.    

DIVISION 3: Grandville Calvin Christian captured the team championship with 56 points. Newaygo finished in 24th place with 545 points. Mason County Central's Chase Barnett finished second overall in a time of 15:54 to earn all-state honors, while Kent City's Will Wilson earned all-state by placing 18th.