Elite athletes step to the forefront at West Bloomfield Invitational

| May 2, 2011 | Comments (0)

FINAL LEG: Auburn Hills Avondale's Trevon Salter hands off the baton to Dylan Chapman during the sprint medley relay at Saturday's West Bloomfield Invitational.



WEST BLOOMFIELD — Perhaps all of the rough weather in recent weeks really inspired some track and field athletes to finally shine. At least Saturday’s 60 degree temperatures at the West Bloomfield Invitational it gave them an opportunity to do so.

After weeks are inclement weather, the best literally came out of the pack Saturday at the 40th annual West Bloomfield Invitational.

With several efforts ranking among the best in the state, and some ranked in the Midwest or nationally, track and field fans were given a sneak peak into some of the state’s best and who might be a contender when the state meets come around June 4.

Ann Arbor Pioneer defended its boys team title and Waterford Mott captured its first-ever title in the girls meet, but the story came in from the individuals, where many posted some outstanding efforts for a meet held in April and on the coattails of several weeks of cold weather and rain.

Country Day’s Dartis Willis won the long jump (22-2 ¼) and his 7-1 effort in the high jump ranks amongst the best in the nation. DCD teammate David Brown hurled the discus 177-4, best in the state so far this season.

Jon Hill won the 100 (11.0) into a stiff wind for Country Day, which collected 48 points to finish one point behind Pioneer’s 49 points. Auburn Hills Avondale was third with an all-time best 43 points at the prestigious meet. Walled Lake Central (41.5), Lake Orion (36), West Bloomfield (33.5), Farmington (33), Pinckney (32), Milford (27) and Livonia Stevenson capped off the top 10 in the team standings.

“I think if we had our miler here, it’s a different story,” said Avondale coach Chris Rennels, who was missing some key athletes to injury, including distance ace Zac Miklja. “But this is still big. This is, by far, the best we’ve done at this meet.”

Avondale rolled to its third-place finish behind a pair of wins. Trevon Salter, Takemi Smith, Jeff Douglas and Nathan Chapman won the sprint medley relay (3:38.0). The same foursome combined forces to win the 800 relay (1:29.5), while Xavier Burns, teamed up Douglas, Smith and Salter to win the 400 relay (43.5), with Salter pulling off the win at the line.

“There’s a lot of competition here today, and we hadn’t had any at all this season,” said Salter, who was also third in the long jump. “Most of our meets have been cancelled, so we only had two (dual) meets before this.

SIDE-BY-SIDE: Farmington's Amanda Marris and Rochester's Jessica Goethlas jockey for position during the 3,200 meters. Staff Photo | Dan Stickradt

“We’re not at full strength at all,” admitted Salter, whose team is missing some athletes and the fact that they are practicing on the road with their athletics complex going through renovations. “We haven’t had the time to practice much all and they way the meets have been canceled and we tried running back-to-back, there really isn’t time to practice.”

West Bloomfield’s Louis Duranda heaved the shot put (54-0 ¼), another one of the state’s best efforts. Woodhaven’s Rich DePalma won the pole vault (33-6) and White Lake Lakeland’s Garrett Zuk the 3,200 (9:30.2).

Pioneer won two events en route to the team title, both coming from Drake Johnson, who broke the tape in the 300 hurdles (39.4) and 110 hurdles (14.7).

Livonia Stevenson won the 3,200 relay (8:02.6) with Adam Chludzinski, Joe Urso, Zaid Shcreef and Matt Williams joining up of the impressive win, which beat two other teams by less than two seconds. Milford’s Dan Schultz, Brandon Wallace, Brandon Bell and Shawn Shove pulled away to win the 1,600 relay (3:28.8).

Farmington’s Darius Davis, Matt Craven, Josh Craven, and De’Marco Mills won the shuttle hurdles (1:01.7). Southfield Christian’s Victor Allen broke away from a tight pack of 12 runners in the last lap to win the 1,600 (4:26.6), where all of those runners broke 4:35.

With a mix of veterans and newcomers, Waterford Mott surprised the field with 64 points in the girls meet. Within the past five years, Mott’s program has developed into a state powerhouse.

“I am surprised,” admitted Mott coach Amy Coughlin, who coached the Corsairs to a third-place finish at the Division 1 state meet in 2009. “I was excited when we won the first two events, the 300 hurdles and the (3,200 relay). I got excited because I saw that we might have a good day and end up being one of the better teams here. We came back and won the sprint medley against some very good teams. We’re not a big team, we didn’t bring a lot of girls, but the girls that are here are really talented.”

Country Day was second with 54 points and Pontiac claimed third with 52 points. West Bloomfield was fourth with 41 points, followed by Farmington (34), Southfield (27), Livonia Churchill (26), Birmingham Seaholm (26), Northville (26) and defending champion Rochester (25) in the top 10.

Mott’s Catrina Cortese, Marleesha Simpson, Ally Goff and Courtney Munley won the sprint medley relay (4:18.6). Goff also won the 300 hurdles (46.9), while Munley, Daya Ragh, Cortese and Shannon Osika captured the 3,200 relay (9:52.0) by 14 seconds for Mott.

Osika, who missed most of last season with an injury, surged ahead on the back straightaway and pulled away from Rochester’s Brook Handler to win the 1,600 in an impressive 4:53.3. Handler tapered off and was second in 5:06.9.

Pontiac’s Shaquala Phillips won the 100 hurdles (15.7) and teammate Angela Bursey the shot put in 42-4 ¾, one of the best efforts in the state. Bursey finished ahead of Country Day’s Brittney Mann (42-1) and West Bloomfield’s Taylor Gunn (38-10). Gunn came back to win the discus (140-7), ahead of DCD’s Mann (139-10).

Pontiac also won the 400 relay (51.4).

West Bloomfield’s Erin Finn cruised to a 10:44.0 effort in the 3,200, another stellar effort.

“I didn’t even run track last season,” said Finn, a sophomore. “I ran 10:19 indoors, so I know that I can go faster.”

Country Day’s Kendall Baidsen won the 100 (12.3). Sydney Cureton, Ava Nasrollahzeeheh, Jonell Nwabveze and Baidsen comprised the winning unit in the 800 relay (1:46.6).

Farmington’s Erin Howell, Kara Gurney, Racheal Reynolds, Sierra Resovsky won the shuttle hurdles (1:11.5). Milford’s Margaux Canup had the best effort in the long jump (17-6 ½), Livonia Stevenson’s Alex Kitz took the pole vault (10-2) and Northville’s Nev Moynes the high jump (5-4).

Rochester’s Handler, second in the 1,600, staved off a challenge from Mott’s Osika to help the Falcons win the 1,600 relay (4:09.4). Teanna Murray, Cady Pozolo and Emily Leppek joined Handler on the winning unit.

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Category: Auburn Hills Avondale, Clarkston, High School, High School (M-Z), Lake Orion, Oxford, Prep Wraps, Rochester, Troy

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