Saugatuck cross teams claim titles at Little Guys Invite

Jason Wesseldyk

Saugatuck boys’ track coach Rick Bauer has the utmost confidence in his team. And he’s not one to easily concede victory.
That said, even Bauer admitted the outlook wasn’t bright for the Indians late in the Little Guys Invitational at Gobles on Friday, May 8.
“We were in fourth or fifth place with the 3,200 and 1,600 relay to go. I thought Bangor had us beat,” he said. Bauer’s athletes had other ideas.
Three Saugatuck runners placed in the top five of the 3,200-meter run, and the Indians won the 1,600 relay to  propel them to the narrow 92-88.5 victory over Bangor.
The Saugatuck girls made it a double win as they scored 119.33 points to easily get past runner-up Gobles’ 87.
“I was honestly surprised the boys pulled it out,” Bauer said.
Zach Pettinga led the charge in the 3,200, running 10:09.61 to finish second behind Ban-gor’s Justin Smith (9:58.8). Older brother Jacob Pettinga was third in 10:15.84, while Orlando Carrion came in fifth at 10:28.78.
“The 3200 guys, while not running great times, had great efforts to score those 18 points,” Bauer said.
Zach Pettinga also placed third in the 1,600 with a personal best 4:41.3 and was part of the 3,200-relay team that posted an 8:31.76 to place second.
Jacob Pettinga, Carrion and Joe Brown were also part of the 3,200-team team.
“Zach Pettinga had a great meet,” Bauer said. “He came in a little under the weather but battled in every race he ran.  He had a tremendous leg on the 3,200 relay and ran a gutsy race in the 1,600. Although he was tired in the 3,200, he led for seven laps before fatigue took over.”
In the 1,600 relay that sealed the victory for Saugatuck, Brown, Aaron Rassmussen, Blake Dunn and Jordan Mitchell ran a winning time of 3:37.80.
Dunn also had an individual first place with a distance of 21-feet, 2.5-inches in the long jump, while securing runner-up showings in both the 110 hurdles (15.21) and the 300 hurdles (41.9).
“Blake was huge for us, as he’s been all year long,” Bauer said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete and extremely consistent.”
Other key efforts came from Nick Stormer in the pole vault and Cole Hart-man in the discus. Stormer was sixth with a personal-best height of 10-4, putting him one spot behind teammate David Borland (10-4) and earning Saugatuck three points.
Hartman, meanwhile, was sixth in the discus with a personal-record throw of 116-06, putting him one spot behind teammate Xavier Cardona (121-06).
“We were able to get points in places we did not expect them, like from Nick in the pole vault and Cole in the discus, as they each picked up what turned out to be three very valuable points,” Bauer said. “It’s these types of performances that made all the difference in the meet.”
On the girls’ side, Paisley Sipes led the way for Saugatuck. Not only did Sipes win the 1,600 run (5:20.54), she also ran the anchor leg for the winning 3,200-team that posted a 10:39.17 and included Jessica Francis, Kit Huffman and Rudy Joon.

For full story, pick up a copy of the May 14 issue of The Allegan County News or The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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