Saline girls beat Pioneer for first time; Chelsea caps perfect White Division season
TEMPERANCE -- The Saline High School girls track team has been no stranger to winning this spring.
But winning the Southeastern Conference championships? That territory has been traditionally covered by Saline's rival, Pioneer. Then again, so had been their Division 1 regional, which Saline snagged from Pioneer for the first time since 1983 on Saturday.
The Hornets continued the trend, more than doubling the second-place Pioneers' point total, 205 to 102, to claim the SEC Red Division championship Wednesday at Bedford High School. Huron finished third with 84 points, followed by Bedford (63), Monroe (59) and Skyline (8).
More coverage on MLive.com: SEC Red Results | SEC White Results "We thought we had a good shot at it (league title)," said Saline coach Mike Smith, whose team won seven of 17 events. "The last couple years we've been pretty close. We thought we had the people coming back to make that happen, and it turned out well."
The Hornets' dominating performance eased the mind of Smith, who was aware that Saturday's regional was physically and mentally draining.
"It was a pretty emotional win in the regional. And then to come back (and win) four days later, it's never an easy thing to do," admitted Smith. "I really admire how our kids handled that. They weren't just satisfied with winning the regional.
"You come out here today and its 90 degrees ... it'd be easy to throw in the towel some. But they really competed well."
Like senior Kate Carter, who won the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 16.85 seconds, took second in the 400 dash (58.78 seconds) and ran the first leg in two first-place relays, the 1,600 (3:58.78) and 3,200 (9:29.46). Saline also won the 400 relay (:49.34).
"It's great to beat our rivals again. It's a good feeling," said Carter. "We have a lot of depth and it's great to see we have a lot of people pull away from these programs that have been so strong. But now we're showing that we're strong and we can contend."
Rounding out Saline's first-place finishes were Alex Leptich, who won the 1,600 (5:13.76) and 3,200 (11:42.47), and Brooke Pleger, who took the discus (118 feet, 7 inches).
Meanwhile, Pioneers' pair of firsts came from Chaeli Wantuck in the pole vault (9-6) and Sophia Kunselman in the 300 hurdles (:46.29).
Huron won the 800 relay (1:43.25) and got individual wins from Maya Long, who won the 400 (:58.10) and 200 (:26.17), and LaMichah Hughbanks, who took the 100 (:12.79).
Skyline's best finishes were fifth-place efforts in the 800 (1:54.93) and 1,600 (4:26.87) relays.
On the SEC White Division side, Chelsea claimed the championship with 163 points. Trailing behind was Lincoln (129), Dexter (87), Ypsilanti (67), Tecumseh (53.5) and Adrian (23).
For Chelsea, the victory wraps up a perfect regular season.
"We won every meet, duals and others," said Bulldogs coach Pat Clarke. "It's a tribute to the girls. They ran very well."
Like Saline, Chelsea, was also fresh off of winning a regional, Division 2, on Saturday.
"That was our third regional in a row, so that was very heartwarming to us," Clarke said. "We're doing really well."
Highlighting the Bulldogs win was their 800 relay, which set a school record with a winning time of 1:44.38. Individual wins came from Olivia DeTroyer in the 100 (:12.79) and 400 (:57.23), Danielle Dahl in the 800 (2:24.79) and Christina Coffman in the long jump (15-10).
Second-place Lincoln had three wins. Lauren Ross won the 200 (:26.40), Tierra Williams took the 100 hurdles (:15.43) and Somer Walker owned the discus (108-2).
Dexter saw Emily Papp win the 3,200 (12:21.82), Kristen Yarrows nab the 1,600 (5:21.54), Nyki Caldwell triumph in the high jump (5-6) and Micaela Conter claim the pole vault (10-6). The Dreads' added a first in the 3,200 relay (10:05.52).
Ypsilanti registered two victories, a top time from Zevin Carter in the 300 hurdles (:47.41) and a winning time in the 400 relay (:50.72).