BY DAN STICKRADT
ORTONVILLE — During its state championship run last season, Lake Orion’s boys track and field team lost just one meet and that came at the Division 1 Ortonville Brandon regional.
The Dragons remedied that situation Friday afternoon.
Lake Orion captured its fourth regional championship in school history despite the absence of its top two sprinters, and rolled up an impressive 104.5 points to topple the 15-school field.
Grand Blanc, which defeated Lake Orion at last year’s regional and finished second at the state meet, was second with 93 points.
“As I said all season long, it has been our depth that has made the difference,” admitted Lake Orion boys coach Stan Ford. “We have the ability to slide some other kids around in the sprints and have stepped up. Plus this regional is tougher than it was a couple of years ago, a lot more balance. We still were able to score a lot of points in a lot of events.”
Rochester Adams’ girls team, unbeaten on the year, scored points in bunches. In fact, the Highlanders won nine events with four runner-up finishes spread over 17 events. Clarkston, the meet runner-up, was a distance second with 70 points.
“We have so much talent on this team,” offered senior Jessica Howell, who won three events and finished second in another. “We have something to prove. We can score a lot of points in a lot of events. We’re looking forward to the state meet.”
The top two finishers in each event, plus others that reached the predetermined standard, advance to the Lower Peninsula Division 1 state finals June 1 at East Kentwood High School.
Howell won the long jump (17-11.25) and 100 (12.18), finished second in the 200 and ran a leg on the winning 1,600-meter relay. That unit included Sophie Smith, Amber Jamison and Jamie Morrissey and together they clocked a track and school record 3:58.12.
Morrissey also won the 1,600 (4:59.41), 800 (2:16.85) and anchored the winning 3,200 relay (9:25.64). Lydia Stanley, Caroline Kletzien and Gabrielle Thivierge were also on the 3,200 relay quartet, while Thivierge pulled away down the stretch to win the 3,200 (11:03.73) ahead of Rochester’s Jessica Goethals (11:05.31).
Smith was also in on the Highlanders’ hit parade by capturing the 200 (24.72) and 400 (56.24) for Adams.
“I think this rivaled our performance at the league meet in terms of us dominating,” said Adams coach Eric Lohr, whose squad repeated as regional champions. “This was actually better than the league meet in terms of times. We are peaking at the right time. We set a couple of school records and had a couple of surprises in there, too, which helped us.”
Clarkston’ runner-up meet finish included three victories and three school records, two coming in events that Wolves did not win.
“We had our best day. We broke three school records that dated back in 1987,” said Clarkston coach John Yorke. “I am very pleased with our efforts.”
Megan Nicholson won the high jump (5-4), Taylor Mullins edged out three other qualifiers in the 300 hurdles (46.05) and the foursome of Alyssa Bey, Kyla Russell, Mullins and Madison Wilson clocked 1:45.06 to win the 800 relay.
Romeo’s Sloane Brunner won both the discus (119-9) and shot put (35-0), Port Huron Northern’s Monica Fusee had the best effort in the pole vault (11-3), Rochester Stoney Creek’s Laura Johnston won the 100 hurdles (15.31) and Brandon’s 400 relay of Cyona Rush, Jayna Dent, Ashley Roussey and Kierra Johnson clocked 49.67 to round out the winners in the girls meet.
Brandon finished third in the girls team standings with 61.5 points, while Fenton (57) and Rochester (49) rounded out the top five.
Lake Orion’s foursome of Kirk Hansen, David Arenz, David Diaz and TJ Carey posted one of the state’s best times in winning the 3,200 relay (7:49.19), a school and track record. Jordan Waymar broke the tape in the 110 hurdles (14.4) and 300 hurdles (38.25), while the Dragons’ other win came from the 400 relay quartet of Waymer, Matthew Krause, Alan Karrip and Chris Leigh, which finished in a swift 42.8.
Auburn Hills Avondale, which bumped up to Division 1 enrollment-wise after winning the D-2 state crown last June, finished third 61 points. Joshuwa Hollomon came back from injury to win the 100 (10.72), Zachary Purcilly had the best toss in the shot put (50-11.5), while Geoffrey Williston was a surprise winner in the 800 (1:54.6) for Avondale.
“I was surprised that I won. I knew there were some great runners in this race,” said Williston. “I know we are not in Division 2 anymore, but I think our team as a while did all right here today in D-1.”
Grand Blanc’s Grant fisher outdueled Lake Orion’s TJ Carey to win the 1,600 (4:16.31 to 4:17.13), while Fisher came back to win the 3,200 (9:16.08), just ahead of Adams’ Stephen Biebelhausen (9:18.78) in an event that saw 12 runners eclipse the qualifying mark.
Clarkston’s foursome of Ian Eriksen, Scott Cousino, Joey Definis and Blake Sutherland won the 1,600 relay (3:21.87), just ahead of Adams (3:22.41), while Eriksen blazed a 21.81 trail to singe the track in the 200.
On his last attempt, Clarkston’s Caine Watlington captured the long jump (20-6), Brandon’s Cody Haragos won the pole vault (12-10) and Grand Blanc’s Luke Maclean took the discus (158-0) crown and teammate Robin Plummer the high jump (6-3).
Port Huron’s Mark Chapman the 400 (48.68) while the Big Reds also captured the 800 relay (1:29.62).
Clarkston finished fourth in the boys team standings (53) with Adams following just behind (52.5) in the top five.
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