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Metro Detroit

June 2, 2014

Area athletes compete in MHSAA state track and field championships

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

ROCKFORD — For the first time in three years, there is a new team state champion in girls track and field in Division 1.

Oak Park took the title away from Grosse Pointe South at the MHSAA Division 1 state meet on May 31 by collecting 92 points, 42 ahead of second-place Northville.

Locally, Birmingham Seaholm led the way with a fifth-place finish by scoring 30 points, and Grosse Pointe South took sixth with 29 points.

Seaholm did all of its scoring in the distance races and two middle distance relays. The Maples’ 3,200-meter relay team of Rachel DaDamio, Brooke Callahan, Patty Girardot and Audrey Belf won with a time of 8 minutes, 59.08 seconds.

Belf capped off her day with a victory in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10:17.08.

“She (Belf) is not going to take it easy,” Seaholm coach Jeff Devantier said of Belf’s run in the 2-mile. “She is not one of those girls whose strategy is to wait back and see how the race develops. She’s just not that type of a runner.”

DaDamio was also a key part of Seaholm’s scoring, as she placed in three events. DaDamio took fourth in the 1,600 by finishing in 4:51.15, and she joined Callahan, Rachel Satkiewicz and Kate Owens on the fourth-place 1,600 relay team that finished in 3:56.25.

Devantier, who has been the girls track coach at Seaholm since 1992, said that the fifth-place team finish was Seaholm’s highest in his coaching career.

Finishing a point behind the Maples were the Blue Devils from Grosse Pointe South, who came into the state meet as three-time defending state meet champions.

South’s day was highlighted by Jasmine Brathwaite, who placed in four events. The senior took second in the 100 with a time of 12.18 seconds, and she finished seventh in the 200 with a time of 26.07 seconds.

“Jasmine (Brathwaite) had an amazing day for our team; she really gave everything to us that she had,” South coach Steve Zaranek said. “The race of her career was in the 100 dash, finishing second overall and upsetting several runners who were expected to finish ahead of her. That’s just her nature. She’s one of the finest competitive athletes I’ve ever worked with.”

Brathwaite was joined by Christy Ford, Tamira McCoy and Elise Grever, who took sixth in the 800 relay that finished in 1:42.88.

Brathwaite, Grever and Ford were joined by sophomore Kayli Johnson, who also placed in the shot put, in the 400 relay that took sixth with a time of 48.98.

South junior Ersula Farrow lived up to her billing as one of the nation’s top half-milers, as she won the 800 with a time of 2:07.63.

“It’s kind of unusual. We’ve always traditionally been extremely strong in distance running — that’s been consistent from year to year. We’ve just been blessed the past few years with outstanding sprinters,” Zaranek said of his team’s state meet scoring.

There were several other notable performers from area athletes.

L’Anse Creuse’s Jaevyn Wortham successfully defended her state title in the discus with a throw of 140 feet, 5 inches.

Jailah Mason, of Sterling Heights Stevenson, set a new MHSAA Division 1 state meet record in the high jump by clearing 5-9.25.

Walled Lake Northern’s Allyson Goff placed in two events. She won the 100-meter hurdles in 13.8 seconds, and she took third in long jump with a leap of 18-0.75 inches.

Chippewa Valley senior Rachel Walny also placed in two events. Walny took sixth in the 1-mile with a time of 4:54.42, and she also took sixth in the 2-mile in 10:41.11.

On the boys side, Warren De La Salle finished best among area teams with 23 points, which was good for sixth place. East Kentwood won with 71 points, 21 ahead of second-place Oak Park.

Brandon Piwinski highlighted the Pilots’ day by winning the high jump with a clearance of 6-10.

De La Salle’s quartet of Colin Cote, Tyler Garrison, Allen Stritzinger and Louis Zingas took second in the 1,600 relay with a time of 3:18.09.

Zingas also led a quartet of area runners who placed in the 400 by taking fourth in the event with a time of 49.62 seconds.

The hurdle events were the strongest for area athletes, as four competitors from local schools placed in each race.

Brother Rice’s Mike Carey won the 300 hurdles in 38.07 seconds, and Birmingham Groves’ Ross Williams took second in the 110 hurdles in 14.21 seconds. Carey also took fifth in the 110 in 14.47 seconds.

Jordan Shive, from Rochester Adams placed in both hurdle events by taking eighth in the 110 (14.93 seconds) and sixth in the 300 (38.79).

Walled Lake Central shined in the throwing events, as Austin Shamoun took second in discus with a throw of 162-11. His teammate, Exhildi Prekaj, took eighth in discus, and he also took second in shot put with a heave of 56-2.5.

Royal Oak’s Ben Hill highlighted the day for local distance runners with a second-place finish in the 3,200 with a time of 9:09.34.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.