50 Tickets to Brooklyn: #3

50 Tickets

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  • What’s wowing to me is the sheer immediacy, the sheer impact Helen had on the cross country scene
  • No break in periods, no adjustments to the longer distance, no busting of rust, she immediately jumped on the sub-18 and 170+ rating train and was along for the ride all season
  • We saw it in the opener at Portage, sub-18, 171.3, and she was under those 1080 seconds 7 more times in 2021
    • This would happen in championship races (OK Red, D1 State), this would happen in massive invites (Spartan, Otsego Bulldog, Portage), no stage too big for Helen
  • This loud arrival was well anticipated, Helen being the #2 all-time 8th grader at the 3200m distance, covering those eight laps in 10:44
  • A few months back, those eight laps are where she made her home yet again, winning at the elite Golden Triangle invite, setting a personal best in the process, then coming back on the tail end of a triple at State to lower that best
  • Her track season was especially valuable and the best of both worlds for a youngster, quick times, but learning how to race
    • Present in large events such as OK Red, Barnyard, Golden Triangle, the lessons learned from those showdowns led to a state meet where she was able to grab medals individually in the 1600m and 3200m and with her team in the 4x800m
  • A year full of speedy growing that will pay dividends for the next three years and beyond, where we will see Helen on many stages, in the state and beyond

9Helen Sachs17:56.0171.3Portage EBPortage West MS20-Aug
9Helen Sachs18:40.0156.3Under the Lights (GRSC)South Christian HS27-Aug
9Helen Sachs17:55.5166.5BredewegMacatawa Bay MS11-Sep
9Helen Sachs17:48.5173.8SpartanForest Akers17-Sep
9Helen Sachs17:36.8159.4OK Red 1Grand Haven HS21-Sep
9Helen Sachs17:27.8170.4Otsego BulldogOtsego HS2-Oct
9Helen Sachs18:13.3158.6OK Red 2Macatawa Bay MS5-Oct
9Helen Sachs17:26.1175.3PortagePortage West MS9-Oct
9Helen Sachs17:30.0161.3OK Red ConferenceRiverside Park21-Oct
9Helen Sachs18:39.0141.03 PortagePortage West MS29-Oct
9Helen Sachs17:48.1161.0D1 StateMIS6-Nov

  • All last summer, Kilian Whalen was in my ear, telling me I’m sleeping on Seth Norder, he’s gonna shock the world
  • And stubborn me, relying on those numbers, admitting he’ll be good but to hit the brakes
  • Seth, another example that it ain’t all about numbers, sheer will, work ethic, and talent will go a long way
  • As a freshman cross country runner, he was solid throughout the season, with some breakthroughs late, a 16:31 in the OK Red, a 16:18 at Meet of Champions, but a lack of competition at the State level kept him off many a radar
    • Similar in track, he didn’t advance to state, resulting in less eyes on him
    • But dissimilar were his marks, Seth’s 4:28 ranking 2nd amongst all freshman milers
  • Back to Kilian’s words, were they ever right
    • The first signs were early, sub-16 at Ottawa Hills, low-16’s in OK Red jamborees (always a tougher task to run fast after school)
    • Those early improvements set the stage for a championship season where he blasted his previous best (15:33 at Portage), emerged victorious at OK Red and Region 1, then was the winner of Riley Hough’s chase pack at State (this writer had him 10th)
  • He didn’t stop when on the track, lowering that 1600m best by 20+ seconds (a sophomore class record), this time putting the first major scare into Riley, cutting that gap that was previously there in the fall
    • The 1600m isn’t his only event either, Seth gritted out a 8:59 eight-lapper in late April, extrapolating, it’s obvious that he could go much faster a month later
  • There is a theory that a runner must experience championship races and stages before they’re able to make an impact
  • Like Helen, Seth is out there proving that wrong, a large testament to his confidence and character

10Seth Norder16:56.3193.6Fruitport EagleFruitport Calvary Christian24-Aug
10Seth Norder16:08.5202.2BredewegMacatawa Bay MS11-Sep
10Seth Norder15:56.5205.5Ottawa HillsRiverside Park17-Sep
10Seth Norder16:04.8192.1OK Red 1Grand Haven HS21-Sep
10Seth Norder15:51.5200.2Allendale FalconAllendale HS2-Oct
10Seth Norder16:21.1194.6OK Red 2Macatawa Bay MS5-Oct
10Seth Norder15:33.8211.4PortagePortage West MS9-Oct
10Seth Norder15:43.7198.4OK Red ConferenceRiverside Park21-Oct
10Seth Norder15:24.4207.21 AllendaleAllendale HS30-Oct
10Seth Norder15:19.9211.4D1 StateMIS6-Nov

9Seth Norder178.2Grand Haven/Zeeland EastGrand Haven HS24-Aug
9Seth Norder161.3Grand Haven/GrandvilleSouth Christian Athletic Complex10-Sep
9Seth Norder176.8Spring Lake LakerSpring Lake HS12-Sep
9Seth Norder178.9EK/GHGrand Haven HS22-Sep
9Seth Norder159.7Grand Haven/RockfordEast Rockford MS29-Sep
9Seth Norder182.5Grand Haven/JenisonUnity Christian HS6-Oct
9Seth Norder166.9GH/HWOGrand Haven HS13-Oct
9Seth Norder180.9PR 1Grand Haven HS23-Oct

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