Jergens defends regional title
PORTAGE — It was a bittersweet day of sorts for Mendon’s boys’ cross country team in Saturday’s Division 4 regional at Portage West Middle School.
Art Stephenson’s Hornets had visions of lifting the championship trophy, but came up a bit short finishing second.
Battle Creek St. Philip, a team Mendon had finished ahead of twice this season at two invitationals, earned the title with 59 points.
Mendon (80) finished second followed by Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep (99).
The day had a silver lining, however, for Mendon as the Hornets qualified for state as a team for the 13th consecutive season.
The top three schools, plus any individual in the Top 15, advances to Saturday’s state meet at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn.
“Obviously we were right there and would like to have won it, but you have to perform on the day and St. Philip did that,” Stephenson said.
“We didn’t quite step up like we wanted to. It’s bittersweet because we didn’t win, but we are still going on to the state meet. We will have St. Philip to shoot for again on Saturday. Our hats off to them. There’s still room for improvement. These kids ran their tails off today.”
Mendon, which is ranked No. 8 in the latest Michigan Cross Country Coaches Association poll, is looking to maintain its position heading into the final week.
Mendon placed three runners on the Top 15 All-Regional squad.
Keaton Crotser finished second in 17:33.3 for Mendon.
Also figuring in the Hornets’ scoring were Alex Heckman (eighth, 18:14.8), Jacob Hagenbuch (ninth, 18:17.7), Wyatt Cupp (29th, 19:17.7) and Garrett Russell (32nd, 19:27.4).
Also competing for the Hornets were Connor Henckel (39th, 19:58.4) and Nik Andaverde (52nd, 20:45.4).
Howardsville Christian School sophomore Dylan Jergens successfully defended his regional boys’ title from a year ago.
Jergens was the overall boys’ winner with a time of 16:53.9.
“I was really nervous coming into today’s race. My plan was to stick with Keaton Crotser of Mendon the whole race and see if I could separate myself at the end,” Jergens said.
Please see Monday’s Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.