Beavers' Andrews aiming to repeat high jump state title

Beavers' Andrews aiming to repeat high jump state title


Beavers' Andrews aiming to repeat high jump state title


Harper Creek sophomore Charley Andrews is the defending Division 2 state champion in the high jump.

Harper Creek sophomore Charley Andrews is the defending Division 2 state champion in the high jump.

Charley Andrews has some major hops.

The Harper Creek sophomore displayed her leaping ability this fall when she was the top attacker on the volleyball team that reached the state semifinals. In the winter, she was jumping up and down the basketball court where she led the Beavers in scoring.

Andrews first put the state on notice of her jumping prowess last spring, when she captured the MHSAA Division 2 championship in the high jump with a winning leap of 5-feet, 7-inches.

Now Andrews is looking to jump her way to another state title when she competes in the Division 2 Finals on May 30 at Zeeland High School.

“I constantly think about (repeating) all the time,” Andrews said. “I try not to because I feel like it’s a lot of pressure on me. Of course I want to repeat it. I’m striving to do that. I’ve trained hard enough and I just hope I can do it again.”

Harper Creek sophomore Charley Andrews is the defending Division 2 state champion in the high jump.

Harper Creek sophomore Charley Andrews is the defending Division 2 state champion in the high jump.

Andrews is one of four locals who won a track and field individual state championship a season ago and are looking to defend their titles. Coldwater’s Logan Targgart is the reigning Division 2 champion in boys’ discus; Homer’s Hunter Weeks is coming off a Division 3 state title in the boys’ high jump; and Union City’s Aaron Watson was crowned in Division 3 in the boys’ 100 dash — although this season he will compete at the Division 4 meet after the Chargers moved down in class.

Additionally, St. Philip’s Ava Strenge proved to be one of the top female distance runners in the state this past fall when she captured the Division 4 championship in cross country. She will also try to improve her runner-up finishes in both the 1,600 and 3,200 last spring.

Harper Creek girls’ track and field coach Dennis Anthony said Andrews is the first state champion he’s coached in his 15 years leading the program. She’ll be the No. 2 seed with a top jump of 5-6 this season — trailing only Paw Paw’s Erika DePierre’s leap of 5-7.

“We’ve had people compete at a really high level at the state meet before and it’s difficult to be a champion in the first place,” Anthony said. “With it being so competitive — there is always newcomers coming on, and the pressure of having to live up to expectations when you are so young — you have a mark and a target on your back… It’s extremely difficult. There is a lot of talent in the state.”

What sets Andrews apart, Antony says, is her competitive edge.

“She’s an exceptional athlete all around, no question about that. She has a natural ability to compete, a drive to compete,” Anthony said. “Track brings that out because you have the team component that you have in those other sports, but track also has the individual opportunities. So track brings out the team competitor, but it also brings out that individual — it stokes both of those fires within her. She works like a champion, she trains like a champion and she competes like a champion. We can’t find an event she’s not good in right now.”

Andrews is qualified for the state meet in three events — the high jump, the 800 and the 1,600 relay. She already holds school records in her marquee event as well as the 800 and the 3,200 relay.

Jenny Gest is the high jump coach for the Beavers, and said it will take more than athletic ability to carry Andrews to another state title.

“There are three major parts to high jump — technique, athleticism and there is also a big mental part of it,” Gest said. “All the time I’m telling Charley that high jump is a mental event. You have to be in the zone and have confidence in yourself.

“In competition she takes a long time because she is kind of centering herself and zones in before she jumps. A lot of it is technique because Charley has a lot of athleticism and can jump, but when you get to the 5-6 or 5-7 heights, it’s all technique. Timing is a big part of it as well. If she doesn’t hold her arch long enough or doesn’t click her heels fast enough, that’s the difference between a good jump and a miss.”

There is pressure on all athletes who compete for a state title — even more so for a defending champion. And that’s OK with Andrews.

“I think they know me from last year and they are all trying to beat me,” Andrews said. “That’s more pressure, but pressure is good because it only makes me better.”

Nick Buckley can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @NickJBuckley


May 30

Division 1: At Rockford High School

Division 2: At Zeeland High School

Division 3: At Comstock Park High School

Division 4: At Hudsonville (at Baldwin Middle School)


(Qualifying marks in parenthesis)



Battle Creek Central: Michael Pettis – shot put (49-3.50); Brandon Randle – long jump (22-2.50), 300 hurdles (39.53); Juan Warren – high jump (6-1)

Lakeview: Darrian Irby – 400 (50.40); Michael Martin – pole vault (14-3); Michael Miller – discus (141-0); Daniel Walker – 300 hurdles (40.31); Jaden Sebring, Ethan Parr, Brandon VanOosten, Jon Haadsma – 3,200 relay


Harper Creek: Mitch Brock – 100 (11.40); James Cadena – 400 (51.38); Tyler Shaw – pole vault (13-10); Khylen Watkins – 400 (50.56); James Cadena, Brad Thomas, Matt Davis, Cole Schneider – 3,200 relay (8:18.83); James Cadena, Jackson Malone, Cole Schneider, Khylen Watkins – 1,600 relay (3:30.02)

Pennfield: DeWan Smith – long jump (20-9.25)

Coldwater: Matt AcMoody – 1,600 (4:34.12); Shuaib Aljabaly – 3,200 (9:54.21); Jayden Coney – long jump (21-0.75); Connor Covert – discus (165-07), shot put (48-10.50); Zach DeMeester – shot put (50-10.50); Spencer Leist – 3,200 (9:55.02); Logan Targgart – discus (180-01), shot put (57-0); 3,200 relay (8:06.37)

Marshall: Bryce Blanchard – 300 hurdles (39.55), 200 (22.92); Chris Thomas – long jump (20-10.75); Jaylin Alexander, Chris Thomas, Forrest Jackson, Bryce Blanchard – 800 relay (1:32.20)

Gull Lake: Joey Dawson – 3,200 (9:42.67); Reid Williams – 300 hurdles (40.64)


Bronson: Jordan Alger – high jump (6-2); Eric Toledo – discus (143-4)

Galesburg-Augusta: Ryan Ranes – discus (133-0)

Homer: Hunter Weeks – high jump (6-4)

Olivet: Deion Feldpausch – 800 (2:01.57); Dave Hewer – pole vault (12-0); Chase Martin – 100 (11.25); Ben Turner – pole vault (12-6); 3,200 relay (8:29.15); 1,600 relay (52.17)

Maple Valley: Cole Decker – discus (142-06), shot put (47-9.50)


St. Philip: David Downey – long jump (20-9.25), 110 hurdles (15.77), 300 hurdles (42.33); Kevin Greenman – high jump (5-9); Zach Spiegla, Kevin Greenman, Tim Minier, David Downey – 400 relay (45.66)

Athens: Gabe Golyar – 300 hurdles (43.24); Sebastian Hamilton – discus (127-07); Jake Iles – pole vault (12-4)

Climax-Scotts: James Behlke, Zach Mobley, Dylan Butler, Zach Tullis – 400 relay (45.93)

Colon: Ronnie Moyer – shot put (43-02.50); Kale Schumacher – discus (151-06); Spencer Smolarz – long jump – 20-02)

Union City: Thomas Anderson – long jump (20-01); Jalen Boes – 200 (23.56); Aaron Watson – 100 (11.44), 200 (23.27); Jalen Boes, Spencer Connell, Thomas Anderson, Austin Mosher – 800 relay (1:35.15); Jalen Boes, Spencer Connell, Thomas Anderson, Aaron Watson – 400 relay (45.61); Jalen Boes, Aaron Watson, Tristen Banks, Thomas Anderson – 1,600 relay (3:34.93)



Battle Creek Central: Karen Harris, Ayrianna Smith, Erion Traylor, Jaylah Wade – 400 relay (50.62); Ayrianna Smith – 100 (12.60)

Lakeview: Hannah Emery – pole vault (10-7); Logann Haluszka – 3,200 (11:27.40); Alexis Williams – 100 (12.59); Alexis Williams, Jadeyn Edgerson, Jakayla Potter, Kalista Hubbart – 400 relay; Logann Haluszka, Maggie Farrell, Taylar Coyer, Megan Riegle – 3,200 relay


Harper Creek: Charley Andrews – high jump (5-6), 800 – (2:22.63); Lexus Kerr – 400 (1:01.0); Chelsea Smith – discus (108-7), shot put – (36-1); Kenzie Callahan, Hannah Berning, Charley Andrews, Catie Scott – 3,200 relay (9:51.34); Lexus Kerr, Kenzie Callahan, Chaeley Andrews and Catie Scott – 1,600 relay (4:04.44)

Pennfield: Arabia Bacon – 100 hurdles (16.11), 300 hurdles – (47.04)

Marshall: Cortazia Wilson – long jump (16-9.50)

Gull Lake: Lily Fell – 3,200 (11:38.89)


Delton Kellogg: Sarah Bassett – high jump (5-0)

Galesburg-Augusta: Savanna Waite – long jump (16-4.50), 100 (13.10)

Olivet: Aleena Janousek – high jump (4-10); Logan Kyre – 100 hurdles (15.89), 300 hurdles (49.42); Noelle Rohde – 200 (27.60); Taylor Sinclair – pole vault (8-9), 100 (13.38); 3,200 relay (10:21.76); 800 relay (1:49.44); 400 relay (52.17)

Quincy: Haley Bean – 3,200 (12:07.59); Kayti Hawkins – discus (118-04), high jump (5-0)

Maple Valley: Olivia Ricketts – discus (113-06); Jadelyn Stewart – pole vault (9-0)


St. Philip: Meagan Casterline – 400 (1:03.31); Taylor Pessetti – pole vault (8-9); Riley Rutherford – 800 (2:27.56); Julia Slattery – 3,200 (13:22.77); Ava Strenge – 1,600 (5:18.14), 3,200 (11:36.12); Ava Strenge, Olivia Ritsema, Julia Slattery, Riley Rutherford – 3,200 relay (10:25.59)

Athens: Corra Hamilton – 800 (2:29.86); Shaylynn Tebo, Corra Hamilton, Rachel Nobach, Lexie Crabill – 400 relay (53.87)

Bellevue: Alexis McGinley – long jump (15-8.75), 100 (13.28)

Colon: Taya Bower – shot put (32-10.75); Anessa Broker – pole vault (8-9); Tallison Wilson – pole vault (10-6)

Union City: April Inman – pole vault (8-6); Rachel Wing – discus (107-05), shot put (33-07.50)


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