On a day filled with thrilling finishes, the girls 200 meters came down to two of the best young sprinters in the country.
East Kentwood sophomore Sekayi Bracey had already won the 100 meters (11.88 seconds) for the second time, and Oak Park sophomore Anna Jefferson had repeated as 400 meters champ with a state record 53.50 and was instrumental in leading Oak Park to the girls team championship.
As they headed up the straightaway, Bracey looked like she was going to post a decisive victory over Jefferson for the second year in a row when Jefferson put on a late burst as she closed in on Bracey.
“I could feel her,” Bracey said. “I tried to stay relaxed and run my race. It was really good, honestly.”
It turned out to be better than good as Bracey won in 23.98 and Jefferson was second at 24.03.
It was a terrific day for Bracey, who also won the long jump and was on the second-place 4×100 relay team.
Jefferson wanted to win the 200, but was happy just to survive it after running so impressively in the 400.
“I wasn’t as dead as I thought I’d be,” she said. “I told myself: ‘Give it your all; finish. Keep your form and give it your all. If she wins, make her win. If you win _ run.’
“I appreciate the race. I did my season best. She ran 23.98 and 24.03 for me. That’s perfectly fine for me.”
Boys 110 meters hurdles: East Kentwood’s Antoine Lloyd (13.95) was the surprise winner of the boys 110 meters hurdles, edging Ross Williams of Birmingham Groves (14.21), with a personal best as he helped EK win the boys team title for the fifth time in six years.
“I planned to win this, but not by the papers _ I wasn’t supposed to win it,” he said. “I wanted to run against my friend and going against all the great competition here, I ran my fastest.”
Lloyd false-started in last year’s championship race, which made him more determined this time.
“That was terribly disappointing,” he said. “I was pretty mad at myself but I came back my senior year, had a fantastic winter, a great indoor season and outdoor as been going just as I wanted.”
The only surprising aspect of his race was that he had his best time.
Finishing third in the race was East Kentwood’s Devin McKinney (14.27) and according to Lloyd his fellow senior played a large part in his victory.
“That was the biggest help of all,” Lloyd said. “If Devin wasn’t here I wouldn’t run that fast. If Devin wasn’t at EK at all I wouldn’t be here at all, to be honest. Devin’s been the biggest pusher the entire season. For my past year, Devin’s been the biggest pusher out of everybody.”
Lloyd, who was sixth in last year’s 300 hurdles, was nipped at the finish line by Birmingham Brother Rice’s Mike Carey.
Team Titles: Oak Park accumulated 92 points to win the girls title. Northville was second with 50 points, followed by East Kenwood (49), Rockford (48) and Birmingham Seaholm (30).
East Kentwood’s 71 points earned it the boys title. Oak Park was second with 50 points, followed by Saline (37), Traverse City Central and Grand Blanc (25 each).
Girls 1,600: Northville’s Rachel Coleman found herself in an unusual position in the 1,600 meters race. She wasn’t alone.
“I’m not used to someone running next to me during the race or kind of close by,” she said. “It actually pushed me so I’m really happy it worked out and I did a PR.”
Coleman ran 4:45.76 in beating Jordann McDermitt of Davison (4:48.43). It was important to her to have an impressive time in the first year after Grosse Pointe South twins Hannah Meier (4:39.23) Haley Meier (4:42.43) graduated.
“I really wanted to run a close time to theirs,” Coleman said. “I didn’t want people to think it was easy to win the 1,600 this year.”
A year ago Coleman was eighth in 4:57, and
“I increased my mileage and it really worked this season,” she said. “I started doing two-a-days so maybe 15 miles extra per week. I did a lot more speed work and worked hard over spring break and used the heat and that helped out a lot.”
Later in the day, Coleman finished second in the 3,200 meters (10:24.58) as Birmingham Seaholm junior Audrey Belf posted an impressive 10:17.08.
Allen doubles up: After winning the 400 meters, Oak Park’s Maurice Allen had only two events to recover before he won the 200 meters, making it one of the toughest doubles in the meet.
“I didn’t think I was going to win, to be honest,” he said. “I just ran the 400 and it’s tough to get your legs back. You’re tired so the thing is you have to get out and run the first part of the race.
“If you can start you can finish.”
Boys 3,200 relay: Saline broke the 3,200 relay state record it set in 2004. Logan Wetzel, Ryan Wilkie, Ryan Gauche and John Davis finished in 7:40.54, the second fastest time in the nation this spring. Saline’s previous record was 7:41.27.
Big anchor leg: Oak Park’s Eli Minor won the individual 100 meters, but was even more impressive in anchoring the winning 4×100 relay team.
“The 4×100 means the most because it’s a team effort and today we worked as a team,” he said. “I knew I had to get a win for my team after the loss in the 4×200.”
Minor trailed by five meters when he took the baton on the anchor leg and easily made up the difference.
East Kentwood’s Kevin Smith had a tougher chore when he took the baton in the 4×200 trailing an Oak Park runner by 30 meters. Minor ran the second leg in the 4×200 to help Oak Park take the lead.
“They beat us in Jackson and it was the same thing and I had to catch him,” said Smith. “I didn’t catch him in Jackson, but I thought I could make it up.”