Track athletes face final test

State finals set for Saturday

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Area track teams will end their seasons this Saturday with the MHSAA state finals. Reed City and Pine River go to Comstock Park for Division 3 action while Evart is at Jenison in Division 4 competition.

Here is a look at what local schools from Osceola County are bringing to the state finals this weekend.

REED CITY

Sami Michell is the defending state champ in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles and the long jump. She also won the 100 hurdles as a freshman. Last season, she was second in the 200-meter dash. It’s her goal to be a four-event state champ.

As for the Reed City boys, “our mile relay team is seeded third, and at the state finals, anything can happen,” said RC coach Brent Michell. “I feel good that we’ll finish in the top three. Lansing Catholic has a little faster time. Watervliet, is around the same time as us.

ONE LAST MEET: Morley Stanwood's Matt Parrish (left) and Reed City's Eric Reed come down to the finish line in a relay earlier this year. (Pioneer file photo)

“Our kids haven’t really run with competition this year, except for at Alma, and we took second at that race. One of our boys was sick and some others weren’t feeling well. We still ran a personal record that day. And we felt good about our times.”

Eric Reed, Michael and Eric Bradford and Joe Oehrli will be in the 1,600-meter relay.

“Joe (Oehrli) has a real chance to win the 800 and a chance to win the mile, I think,” Michell said. “At all state finals, there’s a lot of competition. If you don’t step up and run better than you’ve run, you probably won’t place as well as you think you will. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

Michell said his relay teams could surprise some people on Saturday.

“Our sprint relays are seeded kind of in the middle of the pack. There’s only a couple of a tenths of a second between those times and all-state times. Anything is possible. The kids are coming with great anticipation. We’re excited to see how it works out.”

EVART

The Evart boys are coming off a first-place effort from last Saturday at the MITCA team state finals and now will see if they can do as well at the MHSAA title meet.

“It’s more of the individuals, it’s the best of the best,” pole vaulter Ricky Miller said. “We might have the skill level to do it.”

Evart coach Jim Crawford said he expects his team to score well, much like at the MITCA meet.

“We should score well, we have 12 going with three relays,” Evart coach Jim Crawford said. “We’ll have a good shot. I have all my distance kids going and three relays. It’s a totally different meet. It’s individual while this last one was a pure team.”

For the girls, Evart coach Rene Ward likes sophomore Jessica Tea’s chance in the high jump.

“She’s ranked second right and the other girl jumped three-quarters of an inch higher than her,” Ward said. “I think Alex Pylman has a good chance (in the pole vault) of at least second. Katlyne (VanMourick) in the distances.”

PINE RIVER

For the Pine River boys, “the pole vault is probably our best chance with Abel Langworthy,” said Bucks coach Eric Gebhard. “He’s jumped 13-6 a few times. We hope he can go higher than that and go for the school record.”

Gebhard also had high hopes for Dustin Ecker in the 110 hurdles plus Trevor Holmes in the 3,200-meter run and the 400-meter relay.

For the girls, Devyn Powell hopes to do well in the 400, along with Sheena Vokes in the shot put and Mariah Holmes in the pole vault and the 1,600-meter relay team.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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