Five schools visited Pennfield for the 55th annual running of the Lions Club Relays on Friday.
And with talented teams from Allegan, Delton Kellogg, Lake Odessa Lakewood, Parchment and Paw Paw in town, the host Panthers saw the event as an opportunity to help promote the growth and support for track and field in and around the community.
“It’s an opportunity for us to show track. Pennfield has been known for football and for basketball, which those are the sports that are kind of glamourized in high school,” said Pennfield girls coach Rick McKire. “For us to come out on our track, and show the community that this sport is a striving sport, it’s big.”
“It’s big for our program, the guys and girls get an opportunity to come out here to be proud and run proud for their families. It just makes the whole thing very, very special.”
Paw Paw won the overall relay title for the girls, while Allegan took home the overall trophy for the boys.
While Pennfield finished fourth overall for girls, they managed to medal in seven of the 14 events — including a first-place finish in the 800-meter relay.
“I think our kids did well. We have a young group – we have 21 out of 30 girls who are freshmen and sophomores. They all really came together. This will be their very first big relay,” McKire said. “They did a great job. This kind of meet is really good for us. We put our best there and proved we could win.”
The Pennfield boys earned medals in four events, placing sixth overall on the night.
“They did pretty well,” said Pennfield boy’s head coach David Potter. “They worked hard. We don’t have the fastest kids this year but they do what’s asked of them so that’s all I can ask for. We had a remotely successful day. We just have to work harder and keep working.”
Potter thought the Lions Relays presented a good opportunity to compete against some high-end talent as well.
“We have Allegan, people we don’t run against all the time, we have some from the conference, but its nice to have schools from around here because you see different athletes,” said Potter. “Paw Paw, for instance, has a kid who’s (long) jumping in the 23-feet range which is pretty amazing. You don’t see that in high school really. A kid from Allegan runs in the 10.4s in the 100-meter, so it’s pretty amazing.”
Delton Kellogg finished fourth overall in the men’s relay, medaling in six events and placing first in the discus and pole vault relays.
Delton Kellogg’s girls finished fifth overall, but were able to medal in five events — taking first in the shot put relay.
In the boys’ pole vault relay, Delton Kellogg’s team of Brady Miller and Kenny Coats finished first overall with a combined vault of 23-feet.
In the boys’ shot put relay, Pennfield finished third overall with a combined toss of 70-5.5.
In the girls’ shot put relay, Delton Kellogg’s team of Isabel Belew and Mallory Sewell placed first with combined throws of 60-10. Pennfield’s team of Nikki Klinkel and Shiann Maybin placed second with combined throws of 57-8.
In the boy’s discus relay, Delton’s team of Justin Ferris and Anthony Bates took first overall with combined tosses of 244-3.
In the girls’ discus relay, Delton Kellogg’s girls finished second with combined throws of 173-1.
In the boys’ 3,200 relay, Delton Kellogg finished third with a time of 9:07.16.
In the girls’ 3,200 relay, Pennfield’s team of Audrey Bornamann, Naomi Joseph, Haley Johnson, and Taylor Swartz finished third with a time of 11:06.22.
In the Lions Memorial co-ed relay, Pennfield finished third with a time of 13:22.75.
In the girls’ sprint medley relay, Pennfield’s team of Johnson, Fran Jameson, Brooke Byers, and Sam Groll finished third with a time of 1:56.53.
In the girls’ freshmen 400 relay, Pennfield’s Kate Deoliveira, Byers, Jameson, and Groll finished second with a time of 57.15. Delton Kellogg finished third with a time of 1:00.24.
In the boys’ varsity 400 relay, Pennfield’s team finished third with a time of 45.95.
In the boys’ middle distance relay, Delton Kellogg’s team finished with a time of 6:34.52.
In the girls’ middle distance relay, Pennfield’s Bornamann, Joseph, Deoliveira, and Cassidy Miller finished second with a time of 7:51.75.
In the boys’ 800 relay, Pennfield finished third with a time of 1:37.62.
In the girls’ 800 relay, Pennfield’s team of Groll, Johnson, Jameson, and Byers took first overall with a time of 1:54.11.
Complete results from the meet were not made available.