Mendon’s Mary Leighton made Houseman Field in Grand Rapids her house for a second straight year as the senior capped her prep track and field career in style Saturday with a second consecutive Division 4 state championship in the 100-meter hurdles.
Like last year, Leighton won in record-setting time. She clocked in at 14.89 seconds for the win and paired that with a runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.52.
“I like warm weather, so I felt good going over the hurdles,” Leighton said. “I’m happy that I got my (personal record) on my last race of my high school career. As for the 300s, I knew that it was going to be a really close race. I’m still proud of my performance. It’s nice to finish strong before I go into collegiate competition (Indiana Tech). I will always cherish the memories made from track and I’m proud to say I ran for Mendon.”
Southfield Christian may not have a track, but it has a trophy case. And after Saturday’s performance, the Eagles have a new piece of hardware to put in it.
With great efficiency, a squad of six athletes collected 62 points for the team title to beat out nearest competitors Fowler (52) and Springport (45). It’s the first track championship in school history (the Eagles were second in 2007) and junior Chika Amene left her fingerprints all over it with four victories. Amene won three individual events and ran a leg on the first-place 1600-meter relay team that set a school record with a time of 4 minutes, 7.37 seconds. The team practices in a parking lot and local park.
White Pigeon’s Katie Bedard, a senior, ran a 13.51 in the 100 prelims, which wasn’t fast enough to qualify for the finals. Freshman teammate Claycee West registered a time of 28.15 in the 200 prelims and also fell short of a spot in the finals. However, West finished the day strong with a seventh-place finish with a personal-record time of 1:00.89 in the 400.
The top eight finishers in each event earned all-state status.
Centreville’s Samara Schlabach made the all-state squad after tying for third in the high jump with a leap of 4 feet, 10 inches.
Brittany Morris, Kalee Schrock, Carly Todd and Hannah Marchand were 15th in the 400 relay (52.97), and Andrea Bell, Asia Pratel, Zoey LaBarre and Hannah Terayama placed 17th in the 3200 relay (10:49.63). The Bulldogs’ Brittany Morris was 14th in the shot put with a distance of 32 feet, 7.50 inches. Marchand also tied for 12th in the high jump at 4-7.
Bell was 25th overall in the long jump for Centreville with a distance of 13-9, and Mendon’s Julia Sutter tied for 17th in the high jump, clearing 4-7.
Winning it all doesn’t necessarily mean winning them all when it comes to track and field. In fact, the Whittemore-Prescott boys team didn’t win a single event Saturday.
The Cardinals still managed to rack up 36 points for the team title to hold off Manton (31), Harbor Springs (28) and two other schools that finished within 10 points.
Mendon’s Alex Heckman closed out his high school track career with an all-state performance in the 1600 with a seventh-place time of 4:33.09 — a season best, and teammate Sam Cleveland grabbed the final all-state spot in the 100 meters with an eighth-place run of 11.57.
The Hornets’ 400 relay of Jordan Bell, Cleveland, Ruben Vorster and Arjun Vorster finished 11th in 45.35, while White Pigeon’s Carlos Castro, Sebastian Castro, Daniel Monrroy Orozco and Hunter Rummler took 12th in 45.41.
White Pigeon’s Gavin Kopf, a senior, was 11th in the 300 hurdles (42.85) and 12th in the pole vault (12-0), and Colon’s Zach Greenwald was 13th overall in the discus (128-0). Colon’s Chase Tomlinson took 19th in the long jump (18-9) and teammate Andrew Smolarz was 25th (18-4). Cleveland was 22nd in the same event for Mendon with a jump of 18-6.75.
In the 800 relay, Bell, Kaden Frye, Cleveland and Ruben Vorster made the all-state team in seventh place, registering a time of 1:34.00. Carlos Castro, Kopf, Orozco and Rummler were less than a second behind in 12th place (1:34.81). Colon’s Andrew Smolarz, Chase Tomlinson, Clayton Wolf and Dane Wilson were 19th in the same event with a time of 1:35.98.
Corbin Weinberg, Heckman, Frye and Ruben Vorster logged a 12th-place effort in the mile relay (3:38.36).
Both the 3200 relay teams from Centreville and Mendon made the all-state podium Saturday. Centreville’s Ross Hunter, Jacob Larrison, Justus Chupp and Jared Rank turned in a sixth-place time of 8:28.09, and Mendon’s Keaton Crotser, Jacob Hagenbuch, Ruben Vorster and Heckman were eighth in 8:29.67.
Photos by Wes Morgan and Nicci Plummer