Chip Hills girls track and field hopes to continue success

PUTTING IN WORK: Chippewa Hills’ girls track and field teams goes through its workout during a Monday practice. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

PUTTING IN WORK: Chippewa Hills’ girls track and field teams goes through its workout during a Monday practice. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

REMUS — Chippewa Hills’ girls track team is making a bid to continue its run of championship success.

Coach Sally Schafer’s team is in its third week of preseason practice prior to spring break, and then will focus on the outdoor season starting in mid-April.

Last year, the Warriors won their 13th straight conference title and fifth consecutive regional crown. For the second straight year, they were MITCA team state champs. The 4×200-meter relay team took first at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state meet.

The Warriors were 2014 MHSAA state champs and finished sixth at last year’s meet.

The girls had some key losses from last season in Emonee Anderson, Ariel Esch, Riley Reyes, Kylie Schafer, Emily Starck, Jacki Sheaffer and Michaela Whipple.

Seniors who hope to lead the way for the Warriors are Rachel Baldwin (shot put, high jump, pole vault), Rebecca Fuller (throws), Joelle Humpula (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, relays), Jennifer McNeal (400, high jump, relays) and Nicole Snyder (200, 400, relays).

Returning sophomores who have potential are: Payton Ethridge (100, long jump, relays), Hannah Fiegel (200, 400, 800, relays) and Hannah Todd (100, 200, 400, relays).

Schafer said she’ll have a “wait and see” approach before determining which newcomers might also contribute. She said the strength of the team will be “having a group of athletes who think about the team first, individual second. We have some strong returning seniors. They have experienced much success over their high school careers. They know what it will take to continue the success and will hopefully be good role models for the upcoming athletes.”

Staying healthy and having strong leadership will be critical for the Warriors, who hope to be on top of the Central State Activities Association Gold Division standings again.

“Everyone (in the CSAA) will bring some quality to the table,” Schafer said. “I’m looking forward to another competitive season. I’m excited to see some of the first-year athletes compete and hopefully have some surprises.”

The Warriors had some athletes compete on March 23 in the Division 1 and 2 Saginaw Valley Track Invitational. Top performers for the Warriors were Hannah Todd, 10th in the 60-meter dash (8.27); Snyder, 16th in the 200 (27.71); Humpula, fifth in the 60-meter hurdles (10.01), 10th in the 400 (102.65); Ethridge, 14th in the pole vault (14-3.5); Baldwin, eighth in the pole vault (8-0) and Gabi Purdy, 14th in the high jump (4-8).

The 4×300 relay team of Ethridge, Humpula, Snyder and Todd was sixth (2:59.90).

The Warriors are set to be at the Morley Stanwood Relays on April 18. They host the Chippewa Hills Invitational on April 23.

SPORTS BRIEFS

VARSITY BOYS GOLF

HOWELL — Big Rapids finished ninth out of 14 teams at the Judson Invitational on Thursday in Howell.

The tournament was a two-man scramble format, and the pair of Tait Morrissey and Pierce Morrissey placed second overall with a 67.

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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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