There weren’t many photo finishes during Friday’s 56th annual All-City Track and Field Meet at Harper Creek High School.
But when it came time to select the meet’s most outstanding male and female athletes, it was a little too close to call.
And while there is only room for one on the winner’s podium, the top individual honors were shared as Lakeview’s Brandon VanOosten and Battle Creek Central’s Austin McKinney were each tabbed the meet’s Most Valuable Male Athletes; while Harper Creek’s Charley Andrews and Battle Creek Central’s Ayrianna Smith took home Most Valuable Female honors.
Both the Lakeview boys and girls teams successfully defended their titles, as the Spartans each won All-City titles for the seventh consecutive year.
In the boys competition, Lakeview finished with 182 points, followed by Harper Creek (116), Battle Creek Central (112), St. Philip (84) and Pennfield (24).
VanOosten won titles in all four of his events, placing first the 800-meters (2:03.27) and the 1,600-meters (4:42.49) while being a part of the winning 1,600-meter relay team along with Dre’On Kemp, Justyn Jones and Darrian Irby (3:38.34) and the 3,200-meter relay team along with Keegan Aimesbury, Alex Sulka and Chris McGlynn (8:47.08).
“It means a lot because my brother (Tommy) was a runner a few years back when he was in high school and I’ve been trying to go after his records and follow in his footsteps,” VanOosten said. “Since he didn’t get this, it kind of feels good that I’m getting this now and along with my teammate last year – Jon Haadsma – who got that, it feels really good to share with the legacy that’s been set.”
Also earning city titles for the Lakeview boys were Irby in the 400-meters (50.69), DaLeon Graham in the high jump (6-1) and Michael Miller in both the shot put (43-6) and the discus (145-3).
McKinney also won four city titles, capturing the 200-meters (22.79) and the long jump (21-8.5) and was a part of the winning 400-meter relay team along with Brandon Randle, Tony Postell and Cyntell Williams (43.79) and the 800-meter relay team of Devin Macon, Postell and Williams (1:32.80).
“It means a lot,” McKinney said. “I always knew that I had it in me and I’ve worked hard with my coaches – and shout out to them for pushing me every day in practice.”
The Bearcats’ Williams also won in the 100-meters (11.17), while Randle earned titles in the 110-meter hurdles (14.62) and the 300-meter hurdles (40.41).
Harper Creek was led by city championships from Devon Funk in the 3,200-meters (10:43.23) and Dakota Trimm in the pole vault (11-0).
In the girls competition, Lakeview had 178 points, followed by Harper Creek with 126.75, Battle Creek Central with 76.75, St. Philip with 70 and Pennfield with 55.
Smith led the Bearcats and took home Most Outstanding Female Athlete honors for the second consecutive year after winning titles in the 100-meters (12.45) and the 200-meters (26.92) and was a part of the championship 800-meter relay team along with Audra Bloch, Karen Harris and Erion Traylor (1:51.62).
“I’ve been telling my mom over and over that I really want it,” said Smith, who recovered from a knee injury she suffered last fall. “My knee is actually holding up pretty good… You’ve got to have the right mindset. When I’m out here, I’m not worried about my knee… I also want to give a big shoutout to Charley Andrews – we’ve been friends since fifth grade and we did this together. I really love Charley.”
Andrews – the two-time defending Division 2 state champion in the high jump – won the high jump (5-1) and the 400-meters (61.22) and was a member of the winning 1,600-meter relay team along with Hannah Berning, Catie Scott and Michaela Weaver (4:16.67).
“So far this season has been great and I’ve set some personal records and this is one more thing that can go in my book of something that I’ve achieved,” Andrews said. “We were all going after it today and my coaches were a big part of me getting there… Ayri and I have been best buds for a while and it’s fun that she cheers me on when I’m doing my events and I cheer for her during her events… I’m so proud that we both achieved it together.”
Also earning city titles for the Beavers were Catie Scott in the 800-meters (2:23.51), Macy Hancock in the long jump (15-3.5), Bailey Scott in the discus (98-2) and Emmaray Laxton in the shot put (33-6.5).
Winning individual titles for the city champion Spartans was Maggie Farrell in the 1,600-meters (5:14.10), the 400-meter relay team of Jakayla Potter, Jadeyn Edgerson, Yaqar Elmore and Alexis Williams (52.56) and the 3,200-meter relay team of Logann Haluszka, Taylar Coyer, Farrell and Avery Truex (10:18.57).
St. Philip’s Ava Strenge made some All-City Meet history in the 3,200-meters when she crossed the finish line in a winning and meet-record time of 11:12.50 – besting the previous record of 11:18.84 set by St. Philip’s Mary (Lantinga) Faber in 1990. The Fighting Tigers’ Taylor Pessetti also set a benchmark, breaking the school record in the pole vault with a winning height of 9-3.
Arabia Bacon ensured Pennfield didn’t come away empty handed, winning city titles in both the 100-meter hurdles (17.50) and the 300-meter hurdles (49.51).
Nick Buckley can be reached at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
2016 ALL-CITY TRACK & FIELD MEET
100: Cyntell Williams, BCC – 11.17
200: Austin McKinney, BCC – 22.79
400: Darrian Irby, Lakeview – 50.69
800: Brandon VanOosten, Lakeview – 2:03.27
1,600: Brandon VanOosten, Lakeview – 4:42.49
3,200: Devon Funk, Harper Creek – 10:43.23
110 hurdles: Brandon Randle, BCC – 14.62
300 hurdles: Brandon Randle, BCC – 40.41
High jump: DaLeon Graham, Lakeview – 6-1
Pole vault: Dakota Trimm, Harper Creek – 11-0
Long jump: Austin McKinney, BCC – 21-8.5
Shot put: Michael Miller, Lakeview – 43-6
Discus: Michael Miller, Lakeview – 145-3
400 Relay: BCC (Brandon Randle, Austin McKinney, Tony Postell, Cyntell Williams) – 43.79
800 Relay: BCC (Tony Postell, Devin Macon, Austin McKinney, Cyntell Williams) – 1:32.80
1,600 Relay: Lakeview (Brandon VanOosten, Dre’On Kemp, Justyn Jones, Darrian Irby) – 3:38.34
3,200 Relay: Lakeview (Keegan Aimesbury, Alex Sulka, Chris McGlynn, Brandon VanOosten) – 8:47.08
100: Ayrianna Smith, BCC – 12.45
200: Ayrianna Smith, BCC – 26.92
400: Charley Andrews, Harper Creek – 61.22
800: Catie Scott, Harper Creek – 2:23.51
1,600: Maggie Farrell, Lakeview – 5:14.10
3,200: Ava Strenge, St. Philip – 11:12.50*
100 hurdles: Arabia Bacon, Pennfield – 17.50
300 hurdles: Arabia Bacon, Pennfield – 49.51
High jump: Charley Andrews, Harper Creek – 5-1
Pole vault: Taylor Pessetti, St. Philip – 9-3
Long jump: Macy Hancock, Harper Creek – 15-3.5
Shot put: Emmaray Laxton, Harper Creek – 33-6.5
Discus: Bailey Scott, Harper Creek – 98-2
400 Relay: Lakeview (Jakayla Potter, Jadeyn Edgerson, Yaqar Elmore, Alexis Williams) – 52.56
800 Relay: BCC (Audra Bloch, Karen Harris, Ayrianna Smith, Erion Traylor) – 1:51.62
1,600 Relay: Harper Creek (Charley Andrews, Hannah Berning, Catie Scott, Michaela Weaver) – 4:16.67
3,200 Relay: Lakeview (Logann Haluszka, Taylar Coyer, Maggie Farrell, Avery Truex) – 10:18.57
*Denotes meet record