Prep track: Rams sweep regional titles
Charlevoix senior John Shea (left) takes the baton from teammate and junior Andrew Plude during the 3,200-meter relay Saturday at Boswell Stadium in East Jordan. Charlevoix took second in the event in 8 minutes, 50.64 seconds. (STEVE FOLEY/NEWS-REVIEW)
But a sweep nonetheless.
The Harbor Springs High School girls' track and field team found itself in a toe-to-toe battle once again with Johannesburg-Lewiston Saturday at the Division IV regional at Central Lake High School.
This time, it was the Rams walking out with the first-place trophy as they nipped the Cardinals by the narrowest of margins, 111-110. Last spring, Jo-burg took the title, edging the favored Rams by just 4 1/2 points.
"It was a dogfight, but we're happy to come out on the top part of it," said Harbor girls' coach Emily Kloss, whose team won the regional in 2009. "We said all along it was going to be a team effort. It wasn't just going to be three or four of your studs winning it for you. Everybody had to give us everything they had on that day."
The Harbor boys had a much less-stressful path to victory as they rolled to 133 points to claim their third consecutive regional crown. Jay Lechner, who successfully defended his discus and shot put titles, along with Patrick Frank, led the Rams.
"We improved in some areas," Harbor boys' coach Mike Kloss said. "I wouldn't say we ran out of our minds, but we ran well. I told the kids we didn't have to get all crazy and so something psycho to get there, we just had to run good. I'm glad to come out on top."
The Harbor girls trailed Jo-burg by one point heading into the final event, the 1,600-meter relay. The Rams had the top-ranked time, and Maddie Buntin, Samantha Smith, Ally Bartosh and Elena Ongaro lived up to that billing, winning in 4 minutes, 24.6 seconds. Buntin seized the lead early in the lead-off lap, and the Rams remained in first place wire-to-wire. Buntin's 63.1-second lap was her best split of the season.
Jo-burg finished second in the race, some six seconds behind the Rams. The Cardinals entered the race with the fourth-best time and their second-place finish was a bit of a surprise. But they had to win the race to hold off the Rams.
"They ran tremendous," Emily Kloss said of the Cardinal quartet.
The win was the Harbor girls' third of the day in the relays, while Ongaro, a junior, captured her third consecutive regional title in the 100-meter dash. She finished in 13.26 seconds. Emily Estep of Onaway was second in 13.70.
Inland Lakes finished a strong third with 93.5 points in the girls' event, while Ellsworth was seventh with 38, and Pellston was eighth with 35.5.
Buntin, Katie Hoffman, Taylor Sydow and Kaitlyn Alessi teamed up for Harbor to win the 3,200 relay, while Ongaro, Kristen Albert, Bartosh and Smith combined to win the 800 relay.
Ellsworth's Dana Neumann won the 400, while Pellston got wins from Tayler Friend in the high jump and from Dana Zulski, Breanna Sisman, Rosemary Colegrove and Abby Bodzick in the 400 relay.
Lechner blew the field away in the boys' discus as he won with a toss of 160 feet, 2 inches. Riley Hirn of Inland Lakes was second with a 128-7 toss.
Lechner, who last spring was second in the state meet in the discus and fifth in the shot put, won the shot put on Saturday with a throw of 46-0, 10 inches better than runner-up Tim Schulze of Hillman.
Max Ketterer of Pellston was also a double individual winner in the boys' meet as he captured the 300 hurdles and the pole vault.
Harbor's Frank -- who had a hand in three firsts -- led a Harbor sweep of the top four spots in the 800. Ben Kloss, Nick Cooper and Charlie Dryer finished second-fourth, respectively.
Frank, Cooper, Nate Schiefer and Nolan Carbeck teamed up to win the 1,600 relay, and Frank, Ben Kloss, Cooper and Dryer combined to win the 3,200 relay.