Saline girls track team looks to get on podium at state finals
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file photo
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The Saline girls track and field team may not be at a state title level just yet. But at the end of the track and field state finals, two trophies are presented to the state champion and to the state runner-up.
And with a large contingent and potential for both individual and relay state titles, the Hornets are hoping to grab one of them.
“They give two trophies, and we’ll battle,” Saline coach Brian Boze said earlier this season.
The Hornets will bring 14 runners competing in individual events and have three relays qualified for this weekend's Division 1 state finals, Saturday at East Kentwood High School. They will be looking to improve on a fifth-place finish last year.
Grosse Pointe South is the odds on favorite to take the team title, led by some of the best distance runners in the country. But a deep Saline squad that won the SEC should be near the top, too.
“There’s no illusion as to their talent,” Boze said earlier this month of GPS. “They have certain talent that’s untouchable. Our goal is to be as competitive as we can and to put forth the best team we can on that day.”
“We are very strong, but you need superstars and we’re trying to develop some of those kids to be competitive at that level.”
Hornets junior Quenee’ Dale ran the top regionals time in the 100-meter hurdles, at 14.10 seconds. She is looking to become the Hornets’ first individual state champion since 2002. She will also run the 100-meter dash, where she is seeded fourth.
“She’s very good, she works very hard,” Boze said of Dale. “It’s unfortunate for her that the state’s not as deep in girls as it was last year. There were some incredible races. But she’s training hard and she runs year-round, and the potential is pretty high with her.”
Senior thrower Randi Bennett, coming off an ACL tear in the fall and a disappointing performance at last year’s state meet, could finish All-State in both the shot put and discus.
And the Hornets’ 400-meter relay team will be looking to repeat its state title from last year, with three of the four members back.
At East Kentwood High School
When: Saturday, June 1.
Who: Dexter, Huron, Lincoln, Pioneer, Saline, Skyline, Ypsilanti.
Outlook: Outside of Saline, several other area athletes should finish high this weekend.
Ypsilanti’s Endia Francois has the chance to be All-State in four different events. She is the fifth seed in the 400-meter, the No. 7 seed in the 200-meter, the No. 8 seed in the high jump and the No. 13 in the long jump.
Anita VanderMuelen of Skyline is the No. 2 seed in the long jump, and could also make noise in the 400. Dexter’s Kamie Powell is the highest seed of four area pole vaulters competing
Pioneer should be Saline’s toughest competition in the sprint relay, and could place high in the 1,600-meter relay as well. And Huron’s Kennedy Beazley may be seeded 17th in the 800, but that’s due to a late stumble at regionals -- her fastest times this year place her among the state’s best.
At Forest Hills Eastern High School
When: Saturday, June 1.
Who: Chelsea, Milan.
Outlook: Three area runners have a chance to all finish high at Forest Hills Eastern.
Junior Nicole Lange of Milan could compete for state titles in both the 200 and 400 meters. Grace Sauers of Chelsea should be in the fast heat for both of the hurdles events, and Laura McGrath should be in the finals for the 100-meter dash.
At Comstock Park High School
When: Saturday, June 1
Who: Father Gabriel Richard, Greenhills, Manchester
Outlook: The Irish won their ninth straight Catholic League title and finished in third at regionals this year. Kelly Bindon will compete this weekend in both hurdles events, while Andrea Bodary will run the two-mile.
Greenhills and Manchester both qualified one athlete: Grace Gardner for the Gryphons and sophomore Alia Benedict for Manchester.