Thornapple Kellogg junior Claudia Wilkinson rounds the turn in the 300-meter low hurdles Friday at the Division 2 Regional Meet hosted by Mason High School. (Photo by Brett Bremer) Brett Bremer
Hastings junior Erin Dalman and Thornapple Kellogg junior Claudia Wilkinson have both been a part of the high jump competition at the state finals before.
They earned the right to try and get over the bar on the infield in Zeeland at the Division 2 Lower Peninsula State Finals once again after finishing 1-2 at the Division 2 Regional Meet hosted by Mason Friday.
Dalman, who qualified for the state finals in the high jump as a freshman, and Wilkinson who was a state qualifier in the event last year as a sophomore, were two of eight girls to clear 4 feet 10 inches in Mason Friday, but the only two to get over the bar at 5-0.
Dalman added one more successful jump, clearing 5-2. She cleared 5-3 as an eighth grader, and managed 5-2 a couple times as a freshman, but hadn’t been over the bar again at 5-2 since her regional performance as a freshman.
“I’m back up to where I was freshman year,” Dalman said. “It is really just like a mental game. It is a little bit of working out. It’s form, and a lot of adrenaline.”
“I figured out my form a bit better, to bring my hips up and get over the bar a little bit easier.”
She said she didn’t come into the regional meet expecting to get back over 5-2
“In the moment, the mentality was there. It just happened,” Dalman said.
A 5-1 leap at an Interstate-8 Athletic Conference dual in mid-April had been her season-best jump before Friday.
Wilkinson, who qualified for the state finals in the high jump, the 300-meter low hurdlers and with the Trojan 4x400-meter relay team, also has a PR of 5-2 in the high jump which is a mark she’s met a few times this spring including in a winning performance at the OK Gold Conference Championship May 10. She’s been over 5-0 consistently throughout the spring.
The top two finishers in each regional event, as well as others who met pre-determined state qualifying times and distances earned spots in the June 2 State Finals.
Thornapple Kellogg had six state qualifying performances. Senior sprinter Kaylee Spencer won her team’s lone regional championship, taking the 100-meter dash in 12.72 seconds, finishing eight hundredths of a second ahead of Marshall senior Olaide Olapade who was the runner-up in the race. Spencer also qualified for the state finals with a runner-up time of 59.99 in the 400-meter dash, her first time finishing the race in less than a minute.
She was even a bit faster than that on the final leg of the Trojans 4x400-meter relay.
Spencer was second to Eaton Rapids’ Arianna Sysum in the 400-meter dash, but made up a 5-meter gap between herself and Sysum during the anchor leg of the 4x400, after getting the baton from Wilkinson. Spencer finally passed Sysum with about 60 meters to go in the race. The Eaton Rapids team still managed to qualify for the finals based on its third-place time (4:11.55). The TK ladies shaved nearly 7 seconds off their previous best time in the race – with the team of Stephanie Pitsch, Jacklyn Morgan, Wilkinson and Spencer finishing in 4 minutes 11.18 seconds.
Wilkinson said the 4x400 is her least favorite of the three events she qualified for the state finals in, “because it is the hardest.”
She said she thought her 400-meter leg went “better than expected.”
“I just wanted to run fast for my team, and literally nothing else.”
Spencer said it was a life goal to finish a 400-meter run in less than a minute.
“I told one of my teammates before, I am not letting (Sysum) beat me twice so get me the baton before her,” Spencer said of the lead-up to the 4x400-meter relay, “but I didn’t and I was like I’m not doing this. I can not lose twice.”
She said she tried to pass Sysum about 100 meters into their lap, as there was an opening to the inside, but then thought better of it. She didn’t want to chance a fall or getting disqualified trying to squeeze through.
“So, I waited until the last corner. That is when you’re supposed to, if you can get them. I did it, and I don’t know, God carried me because I don’t know how I did that. It was really awesome. I was really proud of everyone. It was a good time.”
She said her split in the relay was clocked at 57.8 seconds according to her coaches.
“That is really insane for me. I was really, really pleased. I was really happy for the girls on my team,” Spencer said.
The Parma Western foursome of Ashley Oliver, Lilli Luma, Riley Robertson and Alyna Lewis capped off their team’s regional championship performance by winning the 4x400 in 4:09.39.
The Parma Western girls beat out Mason 93-76 at the top of the girls’ standings. Coldwater was third with 65.5 points, ahead of Thornapple Kellogg 65, Olivet 56, Wayland 49.5 Harper Creek 41.5, Eaton Rapids 40, Jackson Northwest 39, Charlotte 32, Hastings 31.5, Marshall 27, Portland 17, Pennfield 16 and Lakewood 13.
The Parma Western boys’ also won the team regional title Friday, beating Wayland 130 to 82 for first place. Olivet was third with 75.5 points, ahead of Marshall 66.5, Coldwater 48, Mason 44, Harper Creek 41, Charlotte 36, Jackson Northwest 33, Lakewood 28, Hastings 23.5, Eaton Rapids 23, Portland 14.5, Thornapple Kellogg 12 and Pennfield 6.
The area will have two representatives at the state finals in the pole vault in Division 2. Lakewood senior Payne Hanna was the runner-up in the boys’ pole vault, clearing the bar at 13-4. Only four guys in all of Division 2 went higher than that at their regional meet last weekend. One of them was Eaton Rapids’ junior Quentin Henderson who cleared 14-4 to win the regional title.
Thornapple Kellogg sophomore Paige Zellmer was also a regional runner-up in the pole vault. She cleared 9-3, a season best vault for her. Parma Western senior Emalee de La Grange won the girls’ pole vault by clearing 9-6.
Another local pole-vaulter, Hastings freshman Allison Teed, medaled in the event with a seventh-place jump of 8-6. The top eight in each event Friday scored for their team and won regional medals.
The top performances for the Hastings boys came from senior Haydn Redmond who was fourth in the long jump with mark of 20-1 and fifth in the 200-meter dash in 23.70.
Lakewood senior Chas Salgat medaled in the two sprints, finishing eighth in the 200 in 24.96 and seventh in the 100-meter dash in 11.72, just ahead of Hastings junior Hunter Allerding who was eighth in 11.86.
Redmond teamed with William Roosien, Aidan Makled and Dane Barnes for a fifth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay for the Saxons with a time of 3:39.79. Lakewood’s team of Isaac Eggers, Garrett Zuver, Denny Sauers III and Hanna was eighth in that race in 3:43.36.
Thornapple Kellogg senior Jordon Roobol just beat out Lakewood senior Zuver for seventh in the boys’ 400-meter dash, with both guys setting a new personal record. Roobol was seventh in 53.28 and Zuver eighth in 53.59.
A Saxon, a Trojan and a Viking also medaled in the boys’ distance races. TK junior Nick Bushman was fourth with a PR of 4:38.06 in the 1600-meter run with Saxon junior Makled setting a new PR too with his sixth-place time of 4:38.74. Lakewood sophomore Nathan Alford set a new PR in the 3200-meter run, placing fifth in 10:07.74.
Lakewood boys scored in all four relays. The team of Heath Carter, Owen Rickerd, Oliver Beswick and Alford was seventh in the 4x800-meter relay in 9:03.03, not to far behind the Hastings foursome of Jon Arnold, Braden Tolles, Blake Harris and Makled that placed sixth in 8:50.67.
The Lakewood team of Salgat, Stank, Sauers III and Hanna was fourth in the 4x100-meter relay in 45.19 and the team of Salgat, Eggers, Zuver and Stank placed fifth in the 4x200-meter relay in 1:34.82. The Saxon team of Roosien, Redmond, Kirby Beck and Hunter Allerding was seventh in that 4x200 in 1:36.14.
The top performance for the Thornapple Kellogg boys came in the high jump, where sophomore Cole Shoobridge placed fourth by clearing 6-0 for the first time at the end of his first competitive track and field season.
Spencer was joined by her 4x400-meter teammate Morgan as a medalist in the 400-meter dash. Morgan, a senior, placed fourth in that race in 1:03.53. TK freshman Jessica Durkee was sixth in the 1600-meter run with a personal record time of 5:36.32.
Hastings had two girls set new PRs in the 3200-meter run, freshman Carissa Strouse who was sixth in 12:30.58 and senior Allison Collins who was seventh in 12:31.86.
The Saxon freshman Teed was a three-time regional medalists, placing third in the 100-meter hurdles in 17.03 and joining teammates Dalman, Savanah Starrett and Grace Nickels for a fourth-place time of 1:52.48 in the 4x200-meter relay.
All three local schools at the regional scored in that girls’ 4x200, with the Lakewood team of Brooke Bouwens, Sophie Duits, Gracie Travis and Chloe Haight sixth in 1:52.61 and the TK team of Anna Benedict, Trysta Hilton, Ellena Keener and Aubrey Shepherd eighth in 1:56.59.
Haight and Bouwens also teamed with Patsy Morris and Kristine Possehn to place sixth in the 4x400-meter relay in 4:22.39.
Possehn and Morris joined Madisyn Case and Emily Fortier for a seventh-place time of 11:12.71 in the 4x800-meter relay. The TK team of Georgia Kaboos, Jessica Durkee, Kendall Snyder and Maddie Butler was fifth in that race in 10:18.16.
Lakewood’s team of Hokulani Ka’alakea, Duits, Travis and Haight was eighth in the 4x100-meter relay in 53.83.
Haight also added a season-best time of 13.38 to place seventh in the 100-meter dash.
Teed and Wilkinson weren’t the only local girls to medal in the hurdles. Thornapple Kellogg’s Hilton was sixth in a PR of 17.57 in the 100-meter hurdles and Lakewood’s Ka’alakea also set a new PR with a seventh-place time of 17.69 in the race. TK sophomore Kylie Smith was eighth in the 300-meter low hurdles in a personal record time of 51.27.
In the field, Hastings junior Ireland Barber set a new personal record of 95-10 in the discus to place eighth and teammates Grace Nickels and Kali Grimes placed seventh and eighth respectively in the long jump with Nickels flying 14-7.5 and Grimes 14-4.5.