After a disappointing trip to the 2017 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state finals, at which she just missed out on the podium in the shot put and failed to mark in the discus, Three Rivers senior Izabella Taylor came back to Zeeland Stadium looking for redemption. Following Wolverine Conference titles in both events this season, Taylor braved the nasty elements at regionals to win the shot put and finish as runner-up in the discus to qualify to compete at Zeeland one last time.
Heading into Saturday’s finals against the state’s best throwers, Taylor barely qualified for the top flight (top 13) in the shot put. With her second throw of the day landing past the second quadrant line marking 40 feet, it appeared as if Taylor was going to be right in the thick of things for the championship. After measuring, what looked to be a toss of over 40 feet was recorded at 39-10.5, good enough for third place at the time, and a new personal best for the Wayne State-bound Wildcat. It wasn’t until the second to last throw of the meet when Zeeland East’s Aaliyah Boeve would best Taylor’s mark to move up to second and relegating Taylor to a fourth-place finish.
“I am really happy where I ended up,” Taylor said after accepting her medal. “I wanted 40 (feet) bad, but I had a good day.”
Taylor also qualified in the discus, where she charted a throw of 97-11 to move up six spots from seeding for a 20th-place finish.
While Taylor was the only Division 2 all-state performer from Kalamazoo or St. Joseph Counties, there were seven other individual qualifiers and a relay team competing at Zeeland.
In the pole vault, Sturgis junior Noah Franks bested his regional vault by an inch, going 11-10 to finish 22nd.
On the boys discus side, Sturgis junior Jackson VanAlman was unable to duplicate his success from regionals, and threw 114-04 for 24th place.
In the 200-meter dash, Vicksburg junior Grace Wile was less than .2 seconds from her all-time best with a prelim time of 27.36, dropping nearly a second from her regional performance.
In the 400, Three Rivers senior Stephanie McLochlin saved her best for her final high school race with a 1:01.00, moving up 11 places from her seed time to finish 12th.
In the high jump, Three Rivers sophomore Hadley Miller failed to make the opening height.
In the long jump, Three Rivers junior Shelby Krawczak jumped 15-06 to finish in 25th overall.
Vicksburg’s Mia Mulhearn had a good race going in the 300 intermediate hurdles until a stumble over the final hurdle took her to the ground for nearly 10 seconds before she got up and crossed the finish line.
Mulhearn came back with her teammates to compete in the final event of the day, the 4×400 meter relay. With the second slowest qualifying time coming out of regionals, the team of Amelia Ruger, Mulhearn, Riley-Ann Bierema, and Hannah Flickenger dropped almost 9 seconds off their time, clocking a 4:11.62, good enough for 12th place.
Photos by Brett Beier