Buchanan, Edwardsburg share league crown

Published 8:26 am Tuesday, October 23, 2007

By By TOM NYHUIS / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – Conference titles were on the line at Buchanan High School, host of the Lakeland Conference Cross Country championships, Monday afternoon.
When all the runners had completed the 5K (3.1 mile) course it was the Lady Bucks of Buchanan taking a 1-point win, 46-47, over Edwardsburg which came into the conference meet unbeaten. The slim advantage by the Lady Bucks Monday afternoon gave Buchanan a share of the league crown with the Lady Eddies.
Edwardsburg had defeated Buchanan a week ago to keep its perfect season in tack heading in to Mondays race.
"This win feels great especially after last week's loss," Buchanan coach Bruce Hipshear said. "They ran phenomenal against us last week and beat us by two points. And to be able to come back today and I don't care if it was one point or 100 points it feels great. It really does."
A one-two finish by the Lady Bucks was just enough for the win as Elizabeth Hein crossed the finish line ahead of teammate Tori Eger by nine seconds. Hein clocked in with a winning time of 21:04, Eger had a time of 21:13. Edwardsburg's first runner to cross the finish line was Kaitlyn Buzalski with a fifth place overall finish in a time of 21:50.
It was Eger's guts and endurance that played a big part in the Lady Bucks' win. Eger lost her footing on the course and fell to the ground. From that point on Hein took over the lead and held off Eger while Eger held of third place runner Becky Miller of Berrien Springs.
"Tori came down the hill where she rounded the tree she went down and unfortunately and she went right down square on her leg. She didn't catch herself at all and didn't have any idea at all that it was coming," Hipshear said. "She regrouped and pulled herself together. The girl from Berrien Springs (Miller) is a state quality half-miler and for Tori to suck it up and pull away on this final hill over here, thank God we had that one last hill, it was a great performance for her to pull herself up."
Jessica Forker of Bridgman placed fourth ahead of Buzalski to help the Lady Bucks victory. Ashley Harrell of Brandywine edged out Kathy Stewart for sixth place with a time of 22:09. Stewart's time was 22:16.
"It was a huge point, the way the thing broke down, that could have very easily been the point. You add one point and we're tied then you go to the tie breaker. It was huge and every girl today when you get down to one meet in a jamboree style like this it huge, every-body's huge."
For Hein it was her first time this year to finish ahead of her teammate. Despite the fall by Eger, Hein prepared hard for the race.
"Coach Bruce has us do a lot of sprint work and he told us if we want it you have to have the drive for it." Not only did the hard work pay off but Monday afternoon's cool temperatures played a part in her win. "The cold helps, I don't like running in the hot weather so this was good weather for the conference and I'm glad everyone ran good today," Hein said following her victory. Asked when she knew she had the race won Hein said, "When I came down over the last hill I glanced over my shoulder and saw (Tori) was running hard behind me so I knew I couldn't give up but once I hit the gate I felt I had the race."
In the boys' race, Bridgman came in to the meet with a perfect record and with a first place finish captured the Lakeland trophy finishing with a team total of 31 points. Berrien Springs was second with 52. Brandywine and Buchanan each scored 80 points and the Bobcats took third place by way of the tie breaker with the Bucks finishing the day in fourth. Edwardsburg completed the day with 110 points.
Kyle Banish of Berrien Springs captured first place honors with a time of 17:44 followed by Bridgman runners Evan Krettek (17:50), and Cameron Magro (17:59). Tyler Weeden of Brandywine placed fourth with a time of 18:07. Bridgman's Conner Magro was fifth (18:22), Ben Klug of Berrien Springs finished sixth (19:01) and Brandywine's Elliott Richards finished in the top seven with a time of 19:06.
Buchanan's Jon Young (19:21) and Rick Reith (19:22) placed eighth and ninth with Kurt Schlipp (19:24) of Coloma picking up the 10th spot.
Lakeland Conference
Cross Country Championships
At Buchanan
Girls' Team Scores
1. Buchanan 46; 2. Edwardsburg 47; 3. Berrien Springs 76; 4. River Valley 102; 5. Bridgman 119; 6. Brandywine 133; 7 Coloma DNF
Individual Top 10
1. Elizabeth Hein (Bu) 21:04; 2. Tori Eger (Bu) 21:13; 3. Becky Miller (BS) 21:31; 4. Jessica Forker (Br) 21:49; 5. Kaitlyn Buzalski (E) 21:50; 6. Ashley Harrell (BW) 22:09; 7. Kathy Stewart (E) 22:16; 8. Olivia Rauen (RV); 9. Leah Steinhauser (BS); 10. Rebecca Guntz (C)
Boys' Team Scores
1. Bridgman 31; 2. Berrien Springs 52; 3. Brandywine 8; 4. Buchanan 80; 5. Edwardsburg 110; 6. River Valley DNF; 7. Coloma DNF
Individual Top 10
1. Kyle Banish (BS) 17:44; 2. Evan Krettek (Br) 17:50; 3. Cameron Magro (Br) 17:59; 4. Tyler Weeden (BW) 18:07; 5. Conner Magro (Br) 18:22; 6. Ben Klug (BS) 19:01; 7. Elliott Richards (BW) 19:06; 8. Jon Young (Bu) 19:21; 9. Rick Reith (Bu) 19:22; 10. Kurt Schlipp (C) 19:24