Portagers sending 16; Bobcats have Cullar
Posted June 1
by Dylan Savela Manistee News Advocate
There’s a constant competition in track and field that has nothing to do with chasing or trailing anybody.
Athletes will admit the biggest battle lies within.
For 16 Portagers and one Bobcat, Saturday’s Division 4 state finals in Jenison is the last chance of the season to give their absolute best.
“You’re always trying to make those short little gains every time out,” said Brethren boys track coach Travis Walker, whose lone representative from the team will be senior John Cullar in the long jump. “(Cullar) just blew that away in the regional and I think that just shows how focused and committed he is to doing well.
“If he has a good day, he’s got a great shot at placing well.”
A good day — one with a personal-best time, toss, vault or jump — is hoped to be had by all.
The Onekama girls team, which placed second collectively in its regional, is sending 11 state qualifiers to compete in 12 events with high hopes of vying for some state titles.
Portager senior Jaylee Brown leads the charge in her fourth straight trip to the finals.
Despite a nagging back injury her sophomore and junior campaigns, Brown still managed to be an All-State vaulter all three of her previous prep seasons. She’s seeded second in the event heading into Saturday after winning her second straight regional with a vault of 9-foot-6. Her personal best and Onekama school record, however, is 10-6.
“If she has a good day like the day she jumped 10-6, she could be state champ,” Onekama girls coach Bonnie Brown said. “But I think it’ll be an honor for her, like it will for any of these girls, to stand up on the podium. If you do that, you know it’s against the cream of the crop — the best of the best.”
Jaylee Brown will have a busy day aside from the pole vault, as she’ll compete in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles as well as the 1,600-meter relay with teammates Taylor Anderson, Alycia Peterson and Danielle Ward.
Onekama will be represented in all four relays, including the top-seeded 400-meter team of Alyson Fink, Breanna Fink, Meredith Hengy and Nisha Collins; Hengy, Collins, Breanna Fink and Peterson in the 800; and Anderson, Kelly Babcock, Faith Moerdyk and Keena Gilbert in the 3,200.