By DAVID GREEN
Six Morenci track and field athletes will compete in nine events June 1 at the Division IV state finals.
Bulldogs qualified for the state meet by placing either first or second in seven events Saturday at the regional meet in Hillsdale County. In two other events, the qualifying times were met in order to earn a trip to Grand Rapids.
Austin Sandusky will return for the same three events as last year: the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. He won all three events Saturday.
The sophomore turned in his fastest time ever in the 100, at :11.1. His 200 time of :23.1 is the best so far this season, the same with his 400 time of :50.8. Sandusky is the defending state champion in that race.
Freshman Alex Thomas placed second in the high jump at 5-11 to qualify, an inch below his season best.
Ali Piercy came through with her career best discus toss at 114-5, just two inches short of the winning throw.
She threw a “power throw” on her first toss to make the qualifying distance, coach Brad Brown said, then, with the pressure off, she went for distance and nearly won the title.
With Brooke Bovee out of action due to an injury, Madi Gleckler came through with an impressive win in the 100-meter hurdle race. Her time of :15.6 would have placed third in the state a year ago.
About 10 days ago, her time wouldn’t have been good enough to make the finals, Brown said.
“The improvement she made is just incredible,” he said. “I knew she had the potential.”
Gleckler placed second in the 300-meter hurdles at :48.08.
Tatyana Pless set a personal best in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:36 for a third-place finish that was just under the state qualifying time.
Finally, the Bulldogs’ 1600-meter relay team (Mariah Gillen, Pless, Piercy and Gleckler) ran their best time (4:28) to qualify with a fifth-place finish.
Other finishes for the day included:
• the boys 3200-meter relay (4th, 8:44);
• Reagan Stowell in the 1600-meter run (8th, 4:59) and the 3200-meter run (8th, 11:26)
• Luke Spaulding in the 3200-meter run (4th, 10:56)
• Billy White in the long jump (5th, 18-11.75) and Sandusky in the long jump (7th, 18-8.5);
• the girls 3200-meter relay (6th, 11:09);
• Tahjanay Jarrell in the 100-meter dash (7th, :13.81) and 200-meter dash (6th, :28.9);
• Gillen in the 1600-meter run (7th, 5:56).