Portagers poised for medals at regionals

 

The Onekama and Bear Lake co-op has found quite a bit of success on the track this season and there is no reason to think it will stop at the Division 4 Regional in Brethren this Saturday.

After scoring a massive 230 points at the West Michigan D League Championships on May 6, the girls team seems to be in prime position to make a bid for a regional trophy this weekend.

“We have a lot of seniors who have been running really well and the nice thing is that they’ve been there a few other time so they have the experience,” said Onekama girls coach Nathan Bradford.

After being edged in the WMDL championships, the boys also have a shot at a top-three finish in the region with just 15 guys on the roster.

“We are pretty close in a lot of areas,” said Onekama boys coach Jason Torrey. “Overall, I expect to take some good spots and get a bunch of kids to go down to states. “

Jordan approaches the finish line during the 100 dash at the West Michigan D League Championships on May 6 in Brethren.  (Jared Buchholz/News Advocate)

Jordan approaches the finish line during the 100 dash at the West Michigan D League Championships on May 6 in Brethren.
(Jared Buchholz/News Advocate)

Athletes can secure a spot in the state finals in two ways: any athlete finishing in the top two in an event automatically goes or they can hit a state-qualifying mark to punch their ticket.

The Portagers could possibly send three girls to states in the 100-meter hurdles. Meredith Hengy, who has finals experience and a medal in the event, has run a 15.84 this season. The time is well below the state-qualifying mark of 17.24. Grace Hughes (16.84) and Kassidy Ward (16.9) have also topped the time.

All three are in contention in the 300 hurdles as well. Hughes has the fastest time with a 50.13, while Hengy has run a 50.4 and Ward a 51.4. The qualifying time is 50.77.

“Hopefully we can take the hurdlers. They have been working hard just like the other girls,” Bradford said. “Hopefully they have a good day and everything clicks.”

Alycia Peterson appears set to make a run at the state finals in the 100 dash. Her season-best time of 12.84 is well below the 13.4 qualifying mark. Teammate Alyson Fink has run a 13.04 and can also punch her ticket.

In the 200, Peterson again stacks up well, as she has run a 27.2 this season which is nearly a second below that state-qualifying time of 28.05. Teammate Emile MacPhereson has also topped the time with a 27.74 season best.

Peterson and Fink will team with Hengy and Ward in the 4×100 relay to form a school-record breaking team. Their time of 50.92 tops the qualifying mark by nearly four seconds.

“They are coming off a high. They just broke the school record and had really good exchanges,” Bradford said. “They should have a really good chance of making it to the state meet and being regional champs.”

Fink, Peterson and Hengy will team with Hughes in the 4×200 relay. They have also topped the qualifying time.

The 4×400 team of McKaya Groenwald, Elizabeth Belinsky, Emily Belinsky and Ashley Elo is on the bubble as is the 4×800 team of Emily Belinsky, Elo, Keena Gilbert and Groenwald.

“In the 1,600 relay we are two seconds off and the 3,200 we are four seconds off,” Bradford said. “With this being a regional meet hopefully the girls run a little faster.”

Elizabeth Belinsky and Elo are also close in the 400 run.

Emily Belinsky runs the first leg of the Portagers’ winning 3,200 relays team at the WMDL Championships.  (Jared Buchholz/News Advocate)

Emily Belinsky runs the first leg of the Portagers’ winning 3,200 relays team at the WMDL Championships.
(Jared Buchholz/News Advocate)

In the field, Stefanie Kehrer has thrown 30-feet this season which is just 26 inches off the qualifying mark.

“It is her first year doing it. I told not to stress over it and just to go out and have fun,” Bradford said. “Good things happen when you do your best.”

The boys effort will be spearheaded by Michael Belinsky, Jordan Anderson, Gary McBride and Jodan Coe who are all within reach of automatic qualifying times in multiple events.

Anderson and McBride generally run together in both the 3,200 and 1,600 runs, finishing within a second of each other in the events, but McBride holds the faster time in each race.

His 4:42 in the 1,600 run is right near the qualifying time of 4:41. Anderson has a season best of 4:45.

Their 3,200 run is simply dominant. McBride has run a 10:21 in the race and Anderson has run a 10:26. Both top the 10:28 qualifying time.

“I expect that they both will (qualify in both events),” Torrey said. “Gary jumped ahead of Jordan at the Manton meet. Jordan wasn’t feeling well though. Gary took full advantage of it.

“They are both big factors in our 3,200 relay team as well which is sitting second right now.”

They team with Lane Lee and Jeremiah Torrey in the long relay, which has posted a time of 8:49 this season.

“The next closest time is sitting 30 seconds behind,” Torrey said. “So I expect our 3,200 team to go to states as well.”

Michael Belinsky has dominated the 300 hurdles this season and his season-best time of 42.57 tops the 43.24 qualifying mark.

“He has been running the 300 hurdles really well and he is set at No. 1,” Torrey said of Belinsky. “Barring anything unforeseen he should do just fine in that.”

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He has been less dominant in the 110 high hurdles but his season-best time of 17.5 nets him a top-three seed at the regional.

“He is sitting third and I think it is by less than a second. We were talking to him and showing him that and he feels pretty confident he can do it and go to states for the 110s also,” Torrey said.

Coe will make a bid in a tough 100 dash field. His season-best time of 12.15 is off of the qualifying time, but a top-two finish isn’t out of the question.

“Obviously in the 100, there is not much room for error. The difference is milliseconds,” Torrey said, “but I think if he runs well he has a shot to get into the finals”

His long jump is very close to the state mark of 19’7.

“He has been working hard on it lately,” Torrey said. “I know he had a great jump in practice today and I know he is pretty determined to de well in it.”

At regionals, anything can happen. It takes just a couple good showings. Athletes seeded outside the top-five regularly make a state finals appearance.

“You can have your best day that day and go, or you can have a bad day and not go,” Torrey said. “It is all or nothing on Saturday.”

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