FAYETTE TRACK: All of the top distance runners turned in season-best times at the Div. III regional meet Saturday in Tiffin, including Fayette’s Darrell Randall.
The recent graduate clipped 11 seconds off his previous best in the 3200-meter run to finish at 9:54 and qualify for the Ohio track finals for the first time.
Randall missed the cut last season by one place, but he had some padding this time around, finishing 10 seconds ahead of the next runner.
Delta’s Colin Fisher led the pack with a 9:35, ahead of a Sycamore Mohawk runner at 9:50 and a New London qualifier at 9:51. Randall was less than three seconds out of third place.
Randall will need another career best run Saturday in Columbus to place among the top runners. Ten of the 16 qualifiers have posted times below 9:50 and four have run under 9:40.
HIGH JUMP—Fayette sophomore Dustin Lantz cleared 5-6 in the high jump to tie for 12th place at the regional meet.
Six jumpers cleared six feet, including Fremont’s Brant Reardon who was regional champion at 6-6. Reardon cleared 7 feet earlier in the season.
With top-eight ratings in six events, Morenci track and field coach Brad Brown expects his seven finalists to return home Saturday night with medals from the Div. IV state track meet.
The Bulldogs have two athletes who turned in the best time and distance in the state from the 10 Lower Peninsula Div. IV regional meets.
Past performances, however, are only an indication of an athlete’s capabilities. The times and distances have to be repeated or improved upon to succeed at the state meet.
Senior Phoenix Duncan’s 17-0.25 long jump is a little more than an inch better than two other competitors, but Coach Brown believes Duncan is capable of adding a few inches to her career best. He’s hoping to see it Saturday at the Jenison High School facility near Grand Rapids.
Morenci sophomore Brooke Bovee came through with the best 300-meter hurdle time among regional competitors at :47. That time marks her season best and is just a tenth off her school record set as a freshman.
Four other hurdlers finished under 48 seconds and another seven notched times below 49 seconds.
Bovee and Duncan stand in third place in two other events. Bovee will challenge another sophomore in the 100-meter hurdles. Chantel Davenport of Athens ran the race in :15.3 to win her regional meet, while Bovee was first in hers at :15.7. A junior from Pewamo-Westphalia stands in second at :15.5, and there are eight athletes close behind, including a pair of freshmen.
Duncan is third in the high jump at 5-3—her best so far for this season—although she had two good attempts at 5-5, Coach Brown said.
“I think she has it in her to improve on her third- and fourth-place finishes [at the state meet] from the last two years,” he said.
The two jumpers ahead of her both ended at 5-4 in regional competition.
The women’s 400-meter relay team finished second at regionals and stands in fifth place among the state finalists. Team members are Shannon Jarrell, Erin Vanderpool, Bovee and Duncan.
Three teams broke the 52-second mark; Morenci finished the race at :52.6, but that’s not its season best.
Senior Garrett Mohr’s 139-0 discus toss is the seventh place best. The top two competitors cleared 160 feet and the next nine behind Mohr have topped 130 feet.
His 139 marked his season best, but Coach Brown won’t be surprised to see him make it into the 140 range in his final high school competition.
Morenci junior Max Gautz stands at number nine in the long jump at 20-2.75. Thirteen jumpers cleared 20 feet in regional action and the leader has gone more than 22.
Gautz’s effort is within three inches of the next three and he’ll need to beat at least one of them to score a top-eight all-state award.
Gautz also qualified in the 110-meter hurdles and is tied for tenth place at :15.7. The leader turned in a :14.4 and the next eight range from :15.0 to :15.5, putting a top-eight finish in Gautz’s sights again.
“He keeps improving,” Brown said, “and I expect him to get to the semis.”
He’ll need a new season best to advance to the finals.
Shannon Jarrell qualified for both of the sprints. The freshman couldn’t compete last year as an eighth grader due to an injury.
She qualified in both the 100-meter dash (:12.9) and the 200-meter dash (:27.2) and those times would have placed at the state meet a year ago, Coach Brown said. Both are her season’s best, but if she gets in the right semifinal, it could carry her into the finals.
Nine runners have identical times in the 100 and eight recorded faster times. Jarrell stands at number 12 in the 200 and five runners are just a tenth of a second back.
Jarrell will need to rest up to join the 1600-meter relay team where the Bulldogs qualified with a time at 4:22.9. The next 11 teams are within two seconds of that time, far behind the leaders at 4:12.
“Shannon’s :61.8 split was her best of the year,” Coach Brown said, “Kourtney [Cousino] gave her best run.”
Duncan and Bovee are the other two team members.
If everyone runs their best, the Bulldogs could trim their time to 4:15 or 4:16, Brown said, and possibly place.
Every one of the Bulldogs has a shot at a top-eight finish, Brown said, but it will take an outstanding performance by each.
MITCA—Morenci’s girls teams competed Saturday in the MITCA state meet for teams at Gobles High School.
None of the girls produced their season best efforts and the Bulldogs placed eighth among 15 teams.
The 400-meter relay team won the event at :52.6 and Duncan won the high jump at 5-2. She placed second in the long jump (16-6).
Jarrell took second in the 200-meter dash (:27.68) and Bovee took second in the 300-meter hurdles (:47.99).
Jarrell placed third in the 100-meter dash (:13.52) and the 1600-meter relay team took fourth (4:24.4).
MORENCI BALL: Morenci’s ball teams will tangle with Lenawee Christian School at the district tournament Saturday. LCS is the host school.
Morenci’s baseball team, with few wins this season, will meet LCS at 10 a.m., followed by Whiteford vs. Waldron at noon. The finals will begin around 2 p.m.
The softball schedule is just opposite. Whiteford and Waldron play at 10 a.m., followed by Morenci and LCS at noon.
Morenci softball coach Kay Johnson scheduled a few challenging games at the end of the season to prepare for the tournament, and seven games were played despite rainy weather.
She doesn’t expect an easy road out of the district tournament.
“LSC’s good pitcher has been hurt most of the season and she is back healthy now,” she said. “Whiteford beat us two weeks ago.”
In addition, it wasn’t long ago that the Bulldogs fell to Waldron in a district tournament.
“We still have some things to fix,” she said.