More than 60 athletes representing eight area high schools will compete on Saturday, June 4, in one of three Michigan High School Athletic Association Track and Field State Finals at three sites in the Grand Rapids area.
Athletes from Petoskey will partake in the Division II finals at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids; athletes from Boyne City, Charlevoix and East Jordan will compete in the Division III finals at Comstock Park High School; and athletes from Ellsworth, Harbor Springs, Inland Lakes and Pellston will head to the Division IV finals at Jenison High School.
The Northmen have qualified eight athletes in seven events with the top hopes for a medal resting on the shoulders of high jumper Cory Starkey and sprinter Carly Searles.
Searles has qualified in three events in the girls' meet, the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. Her top two events appear to be the 100 and the 400. She is ranked 19th at 12.5 in the 100, and is eighth at 59.1 in the 400.
Searles ran a 59.07 in winning the 400 at the regional two weeks ago. That time is just 7-100ths of a second off the school-record time recorded by Kelly Smith, the top female track and field athlete ever to come through Petoskey.
"I'd like to think Carly's chances are pretty good, especially in the 400," Northmen girls' coach Karen Starkey said. "She's seeded eighth so that should put her in the fastest heat.
"She won (the 400) by a second-and-a-half (at the regional) and nobody was even close to her. On any given day Carly can do anything she wants to. She's been working hard at practice. She's a really hard worker and she's so athletic."
Starkey is seeded seventh at 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump. He has gone as high at 6-6 -- a school record -- this season. He has also qualified for state in the 110-meter hurdles with a 15.1 clocking, which is also a school record.
Charlevoix senior Eric Buday is seeded fifth in the boys' 800-meter run and 17th in the 1,600. He also runs the anchor leg on both of Charlevoix's distance relays.
Last year, Buday finished third in the state finals in the 800.
The Rayders are seeded fifth in the 1,600 relay and their seed time is a little over 2.5 seconds behind that of No. 1-seeded Lansing Catholic Central.
John Shea, Andrew Plude, Matt Klooster and Buday comprise the squad.
Charlevoix's highest seed in the girls' finals is Molly Jeakle, who is 11th in the 800.
Boyne City sophomore Kylie Hicks has qualified in three events and is seeded in the top 10 in two of them, the 300 hurdles (sixth) and the 100 hurdles (ninth). She also qualified in the 400, in which she has recorded the 11th-best time.
Harbor Springs is sending the largest contingent of athletes of any area school, 17, and has the potential to make some noise.
On the boys' side, senior Jay Lechner, a Grand Valley State University signee, is seeded second in the discus and 10th in the shot put. Last year in the state finals, Lechner finished second in the discus and fifth in the shot put.
Harbor's 3200 relay team of Ben Kloss, Patrick Frank, Nick Cooper and Charlie Dryer is seeded sixth.
On the girls' side, Pellston junior Tayler Friend shares the top seed with Posen's Korynn Hincka in the high jump at 5-4.
Friend, who was third in the high jump in last year's state final, finished first in the event two weeks ago in the regional, while Hincka was second.
Harbor's Kristen Albert is seeded eighth and teammate Elena Ongaro is ninth in the same event.
Ongaro is also seeded 10th in the 100, while teammate Maddie Buntin is seeded 10th in the 1,600.
Area athletes who have qualified for the Michigan High School Athletic Association state track and field finals Saturday, June 4. The Division II finals are at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids; Division III at Comstock Park High School; and Division IV at Jenison High School.
Petoskey: Boys, Cory Starkey, 110 hurdles, high jump; Louie Lamberti, high jump; Mike Wilhelm, Mike Drake, Jack Touran, Jared Goodrich, Freddie Liederbach, 3200 relay. Girls, Carly Searles, 100, 200, 400; Samantha Rajewski, 100
Boyne City: Boys, Tevin Larmond, 100. Girls, Kylie Hicks, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 400.
Charlevoix: Boys, Eric Buday, 800, 1600; Tony Fulk, pole vault; John Shea, Andrew Plude, Matt Klooster, Buday, 1600 relay; Plude, Vinnie VonLau, Shea, Buday, 3200 relay. Girls, Annie Dipert, 1600; Molly Jeakle, 800; Olivia Certa, Hilary Way, Dipert, Jeakle, 3200 relay.
East Jordan: Boys, Malcolm Reich, long jump; Josh Wojan, 3200.
Ellsworth: Girls, Dana Neumann, 400, 800.
Harbor Springs: Boys, Nolan Carbeck, 400; Patrick Frank, 800; Ben Kloss, 800; Jay Lechner, discus, shot put; Michael Sutton, 3200; Frank, Carbeck, Nick Cooper, Nate Scheifer, 1600 relay; Kloss, Frank, Cooper, Charlie Dryer, 3200. Girls, Kristen Albert, high jump; Maddie Buntin, 1600; Jenna Lechowicz, discus; Elena Ongaro, 100, high jump; Samantha Smith, Ally Bartosh, Albert, Ongaro, 800 relay; Buntin, Smith, Bartosh, Ongaro, 1600 relay; Kaitlyn Alessi, Buntin, Taylor Sydow, Katie Hoffman, 3200 relay.
Inland Lakes: Boys, Kyle Hanel, pole vault; Riley Hirn, discus; Silas Stempel, Josh Passino, Jensen, Cody Bonilla, 3200 relay. Girls, Sandy Bischoff, 1600, long jump; Emily Griffore, 100 hurdles; Allie Michie, 300 hurdles; Katelin Passino, Michie, Griffore, Nakita Brasseur, 400 relay; Emilie Hungerford, Rebecca Step, Rebecca Hunt, Bischoff, 3200 relay.
Pellston: Boys, Brian Jurek, 100; Max Ketterer, pole vault, 300 hurdles; Heath Welch, 1600. Girls, Tayler Friend, high jump; Dana Zulski, Breanna Sisman, Rosemary Colegrove, Abby Bodzick, 400 relay