Sports round-up 11.10.2010

Written by David Green.

FAYETTE CROSS COUNTRY: After six years of running around cross country courses, Fayette senior Darrell Randall saved the best for last.

He turned in a career-best time Saturday at Ohio’s state finals to place 17th in Div. III.

His effort was just a little short of where he wanted to be—standing on the all-state podium to receive a medal—but it was an excellent accomplishment to cap his standout career, coach Bryan Stambaugh said.

“He was disappointed at first,” Stambaugh said, “but then he realized his achievement.”

His time of 16:11 was a 13-second improvement over his previous best, and he also finished ahead of several runners who beat him earlier in the season and as recently as a week ago at the regional race.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Stambaugh said. “He had a 100 percent day.”

Randall got off to a fast start with a 4:35 three kilometer time—a little faster than he wanted—and stayed in a pack of runners behind the initial cluster who finished below 16 minutes.

With about half a mile to go Randall was running in 14th, but was passed by two runners down the stretch.

“He was running as hard as he could,” Stambaugh said, “but he was already faster at that point than he’d ever been.”

Ironically, his 16:11 would have placed 13th in the state among the larger Div. II schools. Stambaugh looked back at Fayette graduate Heath Armstrong’s final run at the state meet, and that also points to the tough competition in this year’s Div. III race. Armstrong was only four seconds faster, but his time that year was good for fifth place.

Colin Cotton of Cincinnati Summit won the 2010 race at 15:32, just four seconds in front of the nearest competitor. Colin Fisher of Delta came through with the top time among area runners with a fourth-place 15:40.

Delta, coached by former Morenci distance runner Jeff Taylor, placed third in the state. Independence took the team championship.

Coach Stambaugh will have one more season of Randall’s running in the spring on the track team. He hopes to be equally impressed with his senior’s efforts then.

“He really stepped it up Saturday and that was impressive to me,” he said.


It was almost as if Morenci had two freshmen running at this year’s state cross country meet, and both of them produced their top times of the season.

The senior qualifier, Tyler Guelde, competed in cross country for the first time ever. Morenci’s other qualifier, Mariah Gillen, made the cut as a freshman.

Guelde trimmed about 20 seconds off his previous best to place 35th in Div. IV at 17:04.

The senior was tripped up in the first mile of the race on the grounds of Michigan International Speedway, but he was quickly on his feet and didn’t lose much time from the incident, said coach Brad  Brown.

“When he came by me with about half a mile to go, he was in 35th place,” Brown said. “He did well to hold onto that for the finish.”

At that point he didn’t have anything left to close the gap to the next pack of runners, Brown said.

Brown was pleased with Guelde’s efforts, both for his first year out and for his first appearance at the state finals.

That goes for freshman Mariah Gillen, as well.

Gillen was nervous before the big race, but she didn’t get caught up in the adrenalin rush of the massive start, Coach Brown said.

She held her own in the crowd and produced her top time of the season at 21:34 for 108th place.

Kyle Tait of Big Rapids Crossroads Charter Academy was the Div. IV state champion with a time of 15:25. Kirsten Olling of Breckenridge was top in the girls race at 18:09. The freshman ran under 18 minutes in the regional race.

“I was really happy not just with Saturday’s runs, but with the season as a whole,” Coach Brown said. “Top to bottom, all of our athletes got the most out of themselves.”

He’s looking for additional team members for next year’s competition. In addition to Guelde, he’ll lose Micah Gillen through graduation, along with Barbara Hollstein from the girl’s team.

MORENCI VOLLEYBALL: Heartbreak. Nothing but heartbreak.

Just when it looked as though the Bulldogs were on their way to an upset over No. 9 ranked Lenawee Christian School, the Cougars reversed the flow of the match and knocked Morenci out of the district tournament.

It took LCS five games to claim the victory, and every game but one was close. That one came when the Bulldogs notched a surprising 25-11 win.

Morenci maintained the flow into the next game—what looked to be the match winner—when the Cougars finally came alive. Trailing 9-17, LCS came back to take a 27-25 win before ending the match with a 15-11 game.

The Cougars won the opener, 25-23, then fell to Morenci 24-26 and 11-25.

“It was a tough one to lose,” coach Dennis Owens said, “and losing Meghan Smith in warm-ups was difficult.”

Each team had one starter out of the lineup and made quick adjustments. For the Bulldogs, junior Carolyn Blaker moved into the front row to replace Smith.

“Carolyn really stepped in with no warning and did a nice job,” Owens said. “The team really rallied and adjusted well to that big change.

Tia Tompkins was at her best and filled some of the gap with Smith out.

“Tia played a tremendous match,” Owens said. “She and Phoenix [Duncan] were really dominant at the net.”

Owens also cited Mercedez McCaskey as playing one of the best matches of her career.

“There was no one who played poorly that night,” he said. “I am very proud of my team.”

The Bulldogs ended the season with a 15-14-4 record.

Tess Ramsey led serving stats with a perfect 25/25, with one ace and 14 points. Matea Garcia went 26/27, with three aces and 17 points. Chelsea Phillips served five aces.

Tompkins finished with 25 kills and six blocks. Duncan added 18 kills and six blocks.

McCaskey gave 19 assists and Ramsey added 18. Tompkins made 24 digs, Duncan had 18 digs and Garcia made 13.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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