Fogarty paces Portagers to state; Bobcats’ Cullar qualifies in long jump
Posted by Dylan Savela
BRETHREN — While Saturday’s sweltering heat seemed to be taking a toll on many athletes around Brethren’s track, a different story was developing in the field.
At least that was the case for Onekama’s Tyler Fogarty and the Bobcats’ John Cullar.
Each senior put together personal-best performances during the weekend’s Division 4 regional to qualify for the state finals to be held June 2 in Jenison.
Fogarty, now a four-time state qualifer in pole vault, won the event with a personal-record vault of 13-foot-6. He also helped his 400- and 800-meter relay teams qualify past the regional round.
Cullar broke his personal best leap in the long jump thrice during the day before finishing second, just a half-inch short of a regional crown, with a leap of 20-9.
The Onekama boys placed fifth of 15 teams with 45 points while Brethren was 13th overall with 17 points. Evart was the team champion with 146 points total.
“I’m happy with it,” Onekama coach Anthony Torres said. “We got fifth place, and didn’t get points in the some event we usually would. The heat took its toll, I thought, today. Especially in the two mile — that’s just such a tough race.
“I’m happy overall with the season,” he added. “We saw a lot of PRs, and we’re taking two sprint relays and a pole vaulter to state.
“Our goal is always to take as many as we can to state, and that’s what we’re doing. Now we can dial them in to those events from here on out.”
Fogarty won his second straight regional crown in pole vault for his fourth straight ticket to the state finals. He did so by clearing a mark he’s had his sights set on all season, and nearly set another best mark and school record at 13-10.
“With the heat, and with a new pole that’s about seven inches longer, there was a lot more pop today and that’s what helped,” he said. “I’m hoping the weather is nice again (at state). I’m shooting for 13-10 to tie that school record.
“These next two weeks in practice is going to be mainly pole vault, so I can kind of focus in on that.”
Fogarty is one of five Portagers likely to compete on June 2.
Qualifying to state required a first- or second-place finish Saturday, or a time that met Michigan High School Athletic Association’s additional qualifying standards.
Onekama’s 400-meter relay team of Fogarty, Justin Solis, Quinn Matthews and Drew Slevin were well below the 46.2 qualifying mark with a fourth-place time of 45.92.
The 800-meter relay team of Fogarty, Slevin, Solis and Reilly Merrill took third in the time of 1:36.32, and with the formula used to convert FAT times to hand times, should meet the qualifying standard of 1:36.0. Official state qualifiers are scheduled to be announced early this week.