All seven athletes who ran the men’s 200-dash final qualified for state. Perhaps that, more than anything, epitomized the quality of competition at this year’s division one regional at Holt on Friday.
Sixteen schools competed in the event.
In the men’s competition East Lansing took third with 61 points, behind Grand Ledge’s 71 and powerhouse East Kentwood’s 123.5 points.
East Kentwood also won the women’s competition with 150.5 points, followed by East Lansing with 113, Okemos with 71.5 and Grand Ledge tied Caledonia with 55.
Among the local standouts was Holt junior Grant Colligan who came from behind to win the 3200 run.
His time of 9:46.13 beat his previous personal best by about ten seconds.
Okemos’ captain Ashlynn Schiro continued her dominance in hurdles winning the 100 and 300.
“I love everything about them,” Schiro said of the hurdles, which she started in middle school. “When my sister played soccer they were always at the track and my friends and I would go to them and put them up and go over them. I always enjoyed that.”
Elizabeth Jones ran the anchor leg for East Lansing’s 800-relay win.
“I could see that we weren’t too far ahead so I just pushed my hardest, I could hear her (an opposing athlete) coming behind me,” said Jones who also competed in the 400 relay, the 1600 relay, and the 200. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Grand Ledge men’s head coach Brett McCartney was pleased with his team’s performance in what he considered a very tough regional field.
“The sprinting in this regional is unbelievably fast,” said McCartney. “You’ve got some teams here that are going to win the state finals in some of these events.”
Among Grand Ledge’s state qualifiers was Austin Edwards who had a personal best to qualify in the long jump, Travis Taylor who finished second in the discus, and freshman Bob Blamo who took fifth in the 100 dash. Grand Ledge’s 800 and 400 relays also qualified.
Grand Ledge’s Taryn Hubaker took third in the women’s mile.
“It was super nervous but it was good,” Hubaker said. “My team really cheered me on. I have my best friend with me so it’s good.”
Taylor Hall was the lone state qualifier for the Rams’ women with a height of 9-12 in the pole vault.
“She’s just a well-rounded wonderful athlete. Besides the talent part she’s a sweetheart. She commits to it and she’s a go-getter,” Rams’ coach Pam Stafford said. “When you can coach kids like that it makes coaching much easier because they want to be there just as badly as you.”
Okemos’ Kael Fineout made a strong kick the last lap to win the men’s mile automatically qualifying for state.
“We started out at a pretty good pace. I was in the middle for most of it,” Fineout said. “I’d like to get a 4:20, that would get me to nationals and break my school record. I’m so close.”
Standout East Lansing freshmen Re’Anne Blair passed several athletes to give her team the lead in the 800 relay.
“I just wanted to run my fastest to help out my team,” said Blair. “So I passed some people, then our third leg maintained it and our fourth leg extended it and we got our best time of the season.”