Mason coach Charles Miller told his team it could be 1-point meet, and he turned out to be prophetic.
Even though senior Tanner Hinkle, junior Mason VanDyke and senior Alex Whitmer finished 1-3-4, the defending Division 2 state champions edged Ionia just 193-194 for the boys team title in the Greater Lansing Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Ledge Meadows Golf Course.
“This was one we really wanted to win,” Miller said. “I love this meet, and the guys do, too.”
East Lansing (74 points) topped Grand Ledge (93) and defending champion DeWitt (126) to take the girls team title, and St. Louis senior Raquel Serna won the girls race by 15 seconds.
“We wanted to win as a team, and I also had the course record as a goal,” said Hinkle, who was aiming for the 14:58 Wisconsin All-American Maverick Darling ran as a senior at Ovid-Elsie in 2007. “I went out fast enough at the mile with low 4:30s, but I saw the 2-mile split and kind of knew the course record was out. I probably didn’t push myself as well as I could have.”
Finishing runner-up to Hinkle (15:26) was Lansing Catholic sophomore Keenan Rebera (15:49).
“I figured I’d stay with the lead pack until there was a great time to strike,” said Rebera, who left the pack halfway through the 3.1-mile race.
It also included seniors Aaron Baumgarten of Williamston (15:57) and Kenny Wherry of Eaton Rapids (15:58), who finished fifth and sixth.
Mason repeated and claimed its third title (the other came in 1992) while narrowly denying Ionia its third in four years.
“One kid gets one spot and it’s tied and we win on the tiebreaker,” Ionia coach Chris Young said. “But I’ve got five first-year varsity kids, so we’re happy.”
It was the East Lansing girls first Greater Lansing title since 2006 and second under coach Bob Brown.
“Not everybody had their best today, but we had enough people that did,” Brown said. “So I’m very happy for the girls.”
Serna, who finished runner-up in the Division 3 state finals last fall with the same 18:23 she ran on Saturday, led from start to finish. She did not receive expected challenges from defending champion and Mason sophomore Meg Darmofal, who dropped out due to illness, or from East Lansing’s Zoe Morse.
“I felt mentally fine, but my legs just gave out,” said Morse, who finished sixth in 18:59.
“She hasn’t been able to train for a few weeks, and running hard like that, she just gave it her all,” Brown said.
Morse had been fighting for second with sophomore Lindsey Carlson of Charlotte (18:38).
“I was really shocked (to take second), but it’s an overall accomplishment that I’m proud of,” Carlson said.
Others in the girls top five were sophomores Shelby Waterson of DeWitt (18:48), Sarah Goble of East Lansing (18:49) and Dillon McClintock of Owosso (18:52).