OHS girls win second jamboree

Onekama’s Nisha Collins (left) and Danielle Ward go head-to-head in the 100-meter dash during Wednesday’s West Michigan D League jamboree at Onekama. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Gamesmanship was abound Wednesday in the second West Michigan D League meet of the season.

Coaches changed relay combinations and athletes entered in new events from last week’s opening jamboree. Tiny tweaks, minor adjustments — all in hopes to gain a bit of ground on whichever team you’re trailing.

Though the Onekama girls didn’t need to posture for points by any means, the reigning league champions joined in on all the change.

“We did a lot of moving around today,” Portagers coach Bonnie Brown said while looking over the final results. “I’ve just never had this many girls to work with.”

Even with the different look, the depth of the Portagers dominated again as 12 first-place finishes led to a second straight league win with 238 points. The Brethren girls placed second with an improved score of 121 while Mason County Eastern (56) was third, Crossroads Charter Academy (23) fourth, Baldwin (20) fifth, Walkerville (19) sixth, and Pentwater (12) seventh.

For the boys, both Onekama and Brethren made fruitful adjustments, despite placing second and third, respectively, again. The Portagers (161) closed the gap on first-place Crossroads (197) by more than 30 points from last week while the Bobcats (87) gained ground on Onekama. Baldwin (48) placed fourth while MCE (22) took fifth.

“Well, we’ve got about six to seven sprinters and we’re trying to find ways we can utilize them the best,” Brown cited as an example of the Portagers’ depth. “We’re looking for a number of different places we can put people toward the end of the season. They put a lot of pressure on themselves tonight, in the open events, to perform well. … But all we were doing is just getting a better look at what we have.”

The usual suspects led the way for Onekama as Jaylee Brown and Keena Gilbert each won a pair of individual events. Brown took first in pole vault (9-foot-6) and the 100-meter hurdles (17.49) while Gilbert won the 1,600-meter run (6:12.43) and the 3,200-meter run (13:48.88). Also finishing first for Onekama were Nisha Collins in the long jump (15-4 3/4), Breanna Fink in the 100-meter dash (13.39), Faith Moerdyk in the 800-meter run (2:45.82) and Alycia Peterson in the 200-meter dash (28.11).

The Portagers also won all four relays.

Brethren’s Rasmus Olholm took fifth in the shot put. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

The Brethren girls sustained second place in the league, but made a huge jump in points from the last jamboree.

“We’re getting quicker, getting closer,” said Brethren coach Melissa Baker. “The points are interesting today because I know Onekama mixed a lot of girls around, but we got more firsts, seconds and thirds than we’ve had.”

Brethren’s Jordin Wilks took first in the high jump with a leap of 4-6 while the Bobcats swept the top three spots in the 300-meter hurdles, led by Emily Krause (54.90). Krause took second in in the 100-meter hurdles (18.5) while Kristen Santa was second in the 300 (56.50). Brethren’s 3,200-meter and 800-meter relay teams took second as well.

For the boys, Onekama cut last week’s deficit to Crossroads in half with the help of six first-place finishes on the day.

Onekama’s Drew Slevin won two individual events — the high jump (5-10) and 110-meter hurdles (17.99) — while teammate Tyler Fogarty won the pole vault (11-6) and was part of the winning 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams. The Portagers’ 3,200-meter relay team also placed first.

“We cut the deficit in half from a week ago, so we’re heading in the right direction,” said Onekama boys coach Anthony Torres. “We kind of saw where we could shift some people to pick up some points and it worked out. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Torres was impressed with his team’s times, which continue to go down.

“John Girven ran a great two-mile,” he said of the Onekama sophomore’s second-place time of 10:58.04. “He stuck with Crossroads and we got him under 11 minutes, which is what our goal was for the season. You try to break those sort of barriers, and when you do this early in the season, you build confidence and can keep pushing it even harder.”

Brethren had an impressive day of improvement as well. The Bobcats’ Andrew Darling paced the team with a second straight league win in the 300-meter hurdles in the time of 46.36 while John Grocholski placed second in the discus (98-7) and John Cullar was runner-up in pole vault (10-0). Cullar was one of four Bobcats to score points in pole vault.

“As we get closer to regionals, we’re still seeing where we can still finagle some things to be as competitive as we can,” said Brethren boys coach Travis Walker. “We closed the gap on Onekama a little bit today. We were way back last Wednesday.”

The Bobcats were helped by the addition of athletes whose primary sport is baseball, namely Dylan and Lucas Richardson who combined for four third-place finishes.

“We tried some guys in some difference events and they all contributed,” Walker said. “They came through today.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from the jamboree.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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