Cross Country Invitational

Cross Country 2018

The Gull Lake girls team was the 2018 winners of the Annual Harper Creek Optimist Cross-Country Invitational. Finishing in first place for the Girls Junior Senior race was Gull Lake’s Makenzie Wank. Harper Creek’s Sarah Berning won the Girls Freshman Sophomore race. Pictured below are Wank and Berning plus other race participants and race spectators.2018-08-OptimistX-CountryWank2018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCBerning22018-08-OptimistX-CountryGirlsJrSrStart2018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCStewart2018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCRunner12018-08-OptimistX-CountryGLWinner2018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCRunner42018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCRunner52018-08-OptimistX-CountryGirlsFrSophStart2018-08-OptimistX-CountryGirls2018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCRunner22018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCRunner32018-08-OptimistX-CountryFans2018-08-OptimistX-CountryFoodLine42018-08-OptimistX-CountryFoodLine2



Cross Country 2017

The weather was very accommodating for this year’s Harper Creek Optimist Cross Country Invitational held at the Harper Creek High School campus on Saturday, August 26. Ten high schools participated in the event , which featured four races with two boys and girls races each consisting of 9th and 10th grade runners in one race and 11th and 12th graders in the other. The top five finishers from each school in either of the two races compiled the schools points. Gull Lake had the least points on the girls’ side (22), followed by Niles, Hanover-Horton and host Harper Creek. On the boys’ side the winning school was Hanover-Horton (12), with Gull Lake finishing second followed by Olivet and again host Harper Creek in fourth place.

Pictured below is the start of the Girls’ 11th and 12th grade race, which was the first race of the day.2017-08-OptimistXCRace1B2017-08-OptimistXCRace1CThe winner of the Girls’ 11th and 12th grade race was Judy Rector from Hanover-Horton with a winning time of 20:20. Subsequent pictures are other participants, who followed her to the finish line.2017-08-OptimistXCRace1Rector2017-08-OptimistXCRace1Harper1 2017-08-OptimistXCRace1Harper2 2017-08-OptimistXCRace1Harper3

Pictured below is the start of the Boys’ 11th and 12th grade race, the second race of the day.2017-08-OptimistXCRace2Harper12017-08-OptimistXCRace2Harper2The winner of the Boys’ 11th and 12th grade race was Landon Melling, also from Hanover-Horton with a fast winning time of 16:34. Subsequent pictures are Harper Creek participants in race.2017-08-OptimistXCRace2Melling2017-08-OptimistXCRace2Funk 2017-08-OptimistXCRace2Harper3 2017-08-OptimistXCRace2VanWagner

Pictured below is the start of the Girls’ 9th and 10th grade race, which was the third race of the day.2017-08-OptimistXCRace3A2017-08-OptimistXCRace3HarperThe winner of the Girl’s 9th and 10th grade race and pictured below is Kaylee Thompson from Niles with a winning time of 21:04; finishing second was Sarah Berning from Harper Creek in 21:28. Subsequent pictures are other participants in the race.2017-08-OptimistXCRace3Thompson2017-08-OptimistXCRace3B2017-08-OptimistXCRace3Avery

Pictured below is the start of the final race of the day, the Boys 9th and 10th grade race.2017-08-OptimistXCRace4AThe winner of the Boys’ 9th and 10th grade race was Gull Lake freshman Koby Fraaza, with a time of 17:19. Subsequent pictures are runners who followed him to the finish line.2017-08-OptimistXCRace4Fraaza2017-08-OptimistXCRace4B2017-08-OptimistXCRace4Harper2 2017-08-OptimistXCRace4Harper1


Cross Country 2016

Rain was on the order for the annual Harper Creek Optimist Cross Country Meet held at Harper Creek High School on Saturday August 27th and unlike the tennis invitation the prior month, the event could not be moved to an indoor facility.  Eight schools with boys and girls teams participated in the event and four races were scheduled in the following order: Boys Senior and Junior runners, Girls Senior and Junior runners, Boys Sophomore and Freshman runners and Girls Sophomore and Freshman runners. Rain was threatening all morning and half way through the second race the skies opened up and lightening followed. After a 30 minute delay, the storm continued and was in the local forecast for the future couple hours. The event was called off and the runners and fans dispersed.

Hotdogs, chips, candy, apples, fruit drink and water were again provided by our club for all participants and followers. Our two large tents became a popular location for those who stuck around for a snack, but only about half or our purchased food and beverage was consumed. Fortunately we had a recipient for our leftovers. Four hundred thawed precooked hotdogs and buns with condiments, plus bottled water and a half bushel of apples were donated and delivered to the local Haven of Rest Ministries homeless shelter in Battle Creek.  A special thanks goes out to Dr. Gary Gymer for again chairing and organizing the event, club member David Linville for delivering all the leftovers to the Haven of Rest and club members who volunteered their Saturday morning to help set-up and serve the food.

The Harper Creek High School Boys Senior and Junior team did win the only race and finishing third for the Beavers was Drew Vanwagner. Landon Melling of Hanover-Horton finished just ahead of his closest competitor to win the race in a time of 16:48.IMG_4920IMG_4919

A number of runners and fans; some with umbrellas and others soaked in rain, waited in line for a snack served by Harper Creek Optimist Club members.IMG_4924IMG_4925IMG_4927

Cross Country 2015

On a very rainy Saturday August 30th morning our club again hosted the annual Harper Creek Optimist High School Cross Country Invitational event at Harper Creek High School Sports Complex. Our club has hosted this event since the early 1970’s and for the first few years the event was held at what is now the Binder Park Zoo African Exhibit. The event has also been held at the former Wattles Park Junior High School where the runners ran through Kimball Pines Park and also at Riverside Elementary School. During the 90’s the Optimist Club started providing refreshments for runners and anyone who attended the event free of charge. This year almost 900 hot dogs were served along with chips, cookies, candy, apples, McDonald’s orange drink and coffee. Special thanks to long-time Optimist member and past distinguished president, Dr. Gary Gymer, for again chairing and organizing the event and to all members who donated their time so we could successfully provide this youth project to the community.

Eleven High Schools from southern Michigan competed in this year’s event. The competition was divided into 4 races with a Freshman – Sophomore race for both girls and boys and a Junior –Senior races for both girls and boys. The top five runners from each school in both the girls and boys races compiled the schools score. Hanover-Horton won the boys event and Bridgman finished second. Gull Lake took third place and Harper Creek finished fourth. Joey Dawson from Gull Lake won the boys race in a time of 17:07. Gull Lake won the girls event and Harper Creek finished second. Gull Lake also had the top girl finisher: Lily Fell in 20:55. Times were a little slower than anticipated due to the rain and slippery running surface, which wound through trails in a wooded area located on the south side of the Harper Creek School grounds.

Hanover-Horton’s winning boys team.IMG_4308

Bridgman’s second place boys team.IMG_4307

Gull Lake’s winning girls team.IMG_4312

Harper Creek’s second place girls team with their coach Ryan Renner in the left background.IMG_4310

Joey Dawson won the boys event.IMG_4275

Lily Fell won the girls event.IMG_4270

Runners competed on a rain-soaked turf.IMG_4276 IMG_4297 IMG_4272 IMG_4287 IMG_4291 IMG_4290

Refreshments (especially hot dogs) were enjoyed by all in attendance.IMG_4282 IMG_4280 IMG_4278

Pictured are a few of the Optimist club members who assisted.IMG_4299 IMG_4286



Cross Country 2014

On a beautiful sunny September 6th  2014 Saturday morning our club held our annual High School Cross Country Invitational at the Harper Creek High School Sports Complex. Nine schools participated in the event. There were four races run in the following order: Junior & Senior Boys, Junior & Senior Girls, Freshman and Sophomore Boys and Freshman and Sophomore Girls. Please open the attached Battle Creek Enquirer Sports article for the team scores and runners times.  Our club again feed the runners, coaches and spectators. Hot dogs, chips, cookies, candy, water, McDonalds orange drink, coffee and Michigan apples were provided free of charge for those in attendance. Over 700 hot dogs were served! Club member Dr. Gary Gymer again chaired the event and several club members pitched in to assist. We received countless words of thanks and witnessed many smiling faces from those in the food line.

Battle Creek Enquirer Sports

Pictured below are the winning teams, individual (mostly Harper Creek High School participants) and group runners plus club members who worked the event.2014-09-OptimistXCountryWinners4 2014-09-OptimistXCountryWinners5 2014-09-OptimistXCountryWinners3 2014-09-OptimistXCountryWinners2 2014-09-OptimistXCountryWinners12014-09-OptimistXCountryGirls9