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Cross Team Crowned Red Champs

By Jeannie Gregory, 10/17/18, 7:45PM EDT

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The 2018 RHS girls cross country team - 2018 OK Red Champions. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel

By Jeannie Gregory

GRAND RAPIDS – The Rockford girls varsity cross country team received outstanding performances from its runners, Thursday, Oct. 18, at Riverside Park, to claim the OK Red Conference Title outright. The Rams tallied 53 points on their way to first, with West Ottawa landing second place with 56 points.

“Winning the Conference Championships really was a total team effort and highlighted that all team members are important to winning,” shared head coach Ben Watson. “Five of our seven runners ran Season Personal Records with two of those being Lifetime Personal Records. Sophomore Lexie Allshouse improved 43 seconds on her best time ever while junior Liz Bennett improved 34 seconds on her best ever. Neither girl has competed in the varsity in previous seasons and tonight they finished 13th and 14th at the Conference Championships in what is now our 6th straight title.”

Grand Haven (71 points), Caledonia (73 points), and Hudsonville (80 points), followed the Rams and West Ottawa. To establish standings in the conference, there is a combination from the three jamborees’ placements of the teams. The first two jamborees are each 25 percent of the final score, and the third is 50 percent of the final score. (See chart for finishes.)

The varsity Rams were again led by the two talented seniors, with Ericka VanderLende placing first with a time of 17:02, and Emma Everhart-Deckard placing third with a time of 18:29.7. Lexie Allshouse landed 13th with a time of 19:20.05, and Elizabeth Bennett placed 14th, clocking in at 19:40.4. Frosh phenom Bailey Ewen placed 22nd, with a time of 19:56.7. Carly Maynard, earned 27th with a time of 20:06.7, and Karlie Gardner placed 30th with a time of 20:30.9.

“Our senior duo up front continues to lead the charge with both girls racing the second fastest times in their entire four-year careers,” said Watson. “Ericka captured her third straight individual title while Emma Everhart-Deckard finished third. These two have improved every single season of their careers at the Conference Championship. Ericka has raced 19:22, 18:10, 17:32 and 17:02 from ninth grade through 12th, while Everhart-Deckard has raced 21:28, 19:51,18:53 and 18:29 this season. They lead our team in every way. Freshman Bailey Ewen earned herself Honorable Mention All-Conference honors by her combined OK Red season placings and raced to a tough 22nd place in rounding out our scoring.”

“Senior Carly Maynard put in her fastest time of the season and continues to foster a competitive mentality within our team,” continued Watson. “While sophomore Karlie Gardner had a tough race today, she put us in the position to be able to win the Championships by her combined team top five finishes in the Jamboree portion of the season. This is what good teams are able to do: Have seven members that all contribute throughout the season and by their collective efforts become Champions!”

On top of Ewen earning All-Conference Honorable Mention, VanderLende, Emma Everhart-Deckard, and Lexie Allshouse all earned All-Conference honors.

The junior varsity team placed fourth in the meet, tallying 83 points. Hudsonville earned first with 47 points, Grand Haven second with 58, and Caledonia landed third with 66 points. West Ottawa placed behind the Rams in fifth with 90 points, Grandville placed sixth with 186, and East Kentwood placed seventh with 224.

Sophomore Riley Thompson led the JV Rams, finishing fourth with a time of 20:40. Sophia Ullery landed 10th with a time of 20:53.4, and Haiiley Fike placed 17th with a tie of 21:27.4. Grace Vandrwiel placed 28th clocking in at 21:49, and Mara Sweeney placed 30th with a tie of 22:06.

Also placing for the Rams were: 31. Lilly Weirich 22:07.4, 32. Lauren Kellner 22:08.8, 43. Grace Flanders 22:34.3, 51. Emily Danks 22:44.7, 52. Jordan Duvall 22:48.2, 57. Chloe Collings 22:56.7, 59. Katie Host 23:02.1, 60. Scarlet Beachy 23:06.6, 72. Madelyn O’Malley 23:26.8, 73. Anna Dudka 23:29.2, 76. Rosie VanLuven 23:35.1, 88. Evelyn Grimm 24:22.6, 90. Allison Everhart-Deckard 24:27.7, and 110. Ruth Kauffman 25:27.5.

The varsity Rams will now start to prepare for the MHSAA Regional Competition, to take place Saturday, Oct. 27, in Allendale.


Senior Ericka VanderLende led the Rams and earned an individual title by placing first with a time of 17:02. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel


Lexie Allshouse landed 13th with a time of 19:20.05. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel


Frosh phenom Bailey Ewen placed 22nd, with a time of 19:56.7. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel


Karlie Gardner placed 30th with a time of 20:30.9. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel


Emma Everhart-Deckard placed third with a time of 18:29.7. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel


Elizabeth Bennett placed 14th, clocking in at 19:40.4. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel


Carly Maynard, earned 27th with a time of 20:06.7. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel