The Ludington Daily News’ David Bossick contributed to this report.
BENZONIA — Walkerville senior Shane Achterhof earned his third straight Division 4 individual regional title Saturday at the regional race at Benzie Central.
Achterhof easily took the title, winning by 30 seconds over Nate Wing from Mason County Eastern. Achterhof’s time was 16:38.9.
Achterhof, who will make his fourth trip to the state meet, will be joined by teammate Alex Sheehy, who finished third in a time of 17:25.98.
Both Wildcats were expected to make it to the state meet. What was less expected was Pentwater senior Julien Nyberg accompanying them.
Nyberg, who entered the race ranked 28th according to his coach, Erika Fatura, destroyed his previous personal best by over a minute, running a time of 17:49.8, and placed seventh at the regional meet.
“I am still in complete shock,” Pentwater coach Erika Fatura told the Ludington Daily News. “We knew it was a possibility, but we didn’t think a strong possibility. And he just went out and ran the race of his life.
“It is just amazing to me. It couldn’t happen to a better kid. He’s amazing, works hard, incredible.”
The Wildcat boys finished sixth as a team at the regional meet. Matthew Ashbrook was the next Walkerville runner to finish after Achterhof and Sheehy, coming in 43rd place with a time of 19:37.1. Aaron Ashbrook, as an eighth-grader, placed 58th with a time of 20:47.7. Collin Chase, also an eighth-grader, closed the scoring for the Wildcats with a time of 21:07.7. He placed 61st. Ashbrook and Chase were the only two eighth-graders in the boys’ field.
The Falcons’ Christian Wright finished in 31st place (18:51.1), with James Davis in 48th (19:48.1) and Shane Roberts in 68th (23:03.7).
For Pentwater, Fatura said each of her runners ran a personal-best time, including Pentwater’s sole girl runner, Lizzy Arnouts, who had a time of 26:34.1 to place 51st.
“Lizzy Arnouts set a new personal best,” Fatura told the LDN. “Just amazing how much she has improved over the season. I’m just so proud of her and her dedication and commitment.”
Walkerville had two girls finish. Julie Sheehy placed 33rd with a time of 2:45.8. Maggie Sweet took 56th in a time of 28:04.6.