A year ago, Steve Rogers took one athlete from his Marysville boys track team to the Division 2 state finals.
That athlete, Dalton Hollandsworth, told his coach afterward that he wanted to have more teammates come with him the next year. Not only will Hollandsworth get that wish in a week when six other Vikings head to the MHSAA finals, but on Saturday, he gets to go to a state meet with his entire team.
Marysville is one of three area teams heading to a Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Team State Championship meet, as it will head to Linden to compete in the Division 2 meet. Port Huron Northern will be in the Division 1 meet at Macomb Dakota, while Marlette will be in the Division 3 meet at Shepherd.
“I feel like we’re really balanced,” Rogers said. “There are ways of winning the regional where you have five studs and you corner the market. Last Friday, we only won the mile relay and the 400 (meters) and the 200. We got a lot of seconds, a lot of thirds and fourths. We had six events we double scored, and some of them was better than one person winning it.
“Our strength is quite diverse.”
The MITCA meet is not scored the same as a state meet, as everyone who competes scores team points. Each team can enter up to three people per event, and the thought behind that is testing the depth of teams and not necessarily their star power.
Qualifying for the meet is different, too. Regional champions are invited, as are teams who make the cut in MITCA’s power rankings. Marysville was a regional champion, while Northern and Marlette were each power-ranking qualifiers.
Port Huron Northern’s team qualified through power rankings more on the strength of its strengths as opposed to its depth.
“Basically, the events we were good in, we were so good that we got a lot of points,” Northern boys coach Craig Dickinson said.
The Huskies strength this season has been mostly in the distance events, while pole vaulting and hurdles are also strong. Dickinson said that getting his distance runners a lot of competition on the weekend was one of the main motivations in trying to qualify for MITCA.
Now that the Huskies are there, it also gives their younger runners a chance to compete in a big meet.
“It’s a reward for our seniors, but our sprinters have really come along this year,” Dickinson said. “They’re still really young – we don’t have a sprinter that’s a senior. Anything like this is going to get them better for next year.”
Marlette is a bit of a mix between what Northern and Marysville have, as the Red Raiders feature star power, but also have a good balance throughout. Marlette is tied with Hanover Horton for the most entries in the Division 3 MHSAA state meet at 22.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.
Division 1 at Macomb Dakota: Port Huron Northern boys
Division 2 at Linden: Marysville boys
Division 3 at Shepherd: Marlette boys