Paw Paw narrowly tops dual meet

Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daily News photo/RON HARNER Senior Ryne Willming ran a 19:45 for the Chieftains in Dowagiac Tuesday.

Seniors Chris Gantt and Kyle Richardson dueled in a dual meet race between the Wolverine Conference Dowagiac and Paw Paw cross country teams Tuesday.  The visitors from Paw Paw narrowly won the boys meet 27-28 and the girls finished in the top five spots to handily win by a 15-48 margin.
Gantt had been beaten twice before this year and never crossed the finish line before Richardson in his career prior to the meet, but the Chieftain was elated after finishing first with a personal best time of 16:47 to win by eight seconds.
“It is tough to get your personal best in a dual meet and all the boys ran well,” mentioned Dowagiac’s boys and girls coach Ken Jordan.  “Twice before this year Kyle (Richardson) has beat him, but Chris (Gantt) has been running well recently and proved it today.”
Paw Paw (3-2) finished in the three places behind Gantt, which enabled them to win the team title by the narrowest of margins as following Richardson were senior Tim Westrate and sophomore Tony Westerhoff.
“All our kids like this course and our top boy had a good start, but couldn’t hang with Chris at the end,” stated Paw Paw boys coach Matt Kovach.  “We needed everyone today for sure with almost everyone running near to their best times.”
Finishing behind the top trio of runners for Paw Paw were the threesome of Dowagiac’s senior Ryne Willming and juniors Marc Tynakowski and Ben Thompson, respectively.
“I am very proud of everybody’s effort as I saw a lot of racing going on out there,” remarked Jordan.  “How Chris finishes will help us out in any big meet and he is on quite a confidence booster by winning today.”
Allegan will host the conference meet at the Fairgrrounds, which is a new course for everyone with Otsego and Vicksburg both having strong runners.
A trio of underclassmen lead the girls for Paw Paw with junior Kayla DePierre finishing ahead of sophomores Kayla Grotelueschen and Ashley Boven.
“The girls train really hard and would like to finish third or we could drop to fifth in the conference as our only loss is to Vicksburg, but we were down a runner on that day,” noted Paw Paw’s girls coach Chris DePierre.  “We are also looking forward to next year, since we have a junior laden team with some strong runners at the junior high.”
Sophomore Holly Luth of Dowagiac was the only Chieftain to finish in the top eight and finished one second ahead of Paw Paw senior Kate McCaw for sixth place overall in the girls race.
“Holly (Luth) has ran well in two races in a row and we also had some girls running personal bests, which makes me happy,” concluded Jordan.

Boys Result:    Paw Paw 27, Dowagiac 28
Chris Gantt (D) 16:47; Kyle Richardson (PP) 16:55; Tim Westrate (PP) 19:09; Tony Westerhoff (PP) 19:11; Ryne Willming (D) 19:45; Marc Tynakowski (D) 19:47; Ben Thompson (D) 20:19; Cody Puckett (PP) 20:26; Julian Marshall (D) 21:37; Pat McCaw (PP) 21:50.

Girls Result:   Paw Paw 15, Dowagiac 48
Kayla DePierre (PP) 20:02; Kayla Grotelueschen (PP) 21:36; Ashley Boven (PP) 21:58; Paige Sutcliffe (PP) 23:56; Emily Stearns (PP) 24:08; Holly Luth (D) 24:15; Kate McCaw (PP) 24:16; Alyssa Craft (PP) 25:35; Hannah MacDonald (D) 26:19; Clare Banonis (PP) 26:24; Kristina Bunn (D) 26:39; Sarah Long (D) 26:52; Kendra Wilson (D) 27:08.