With the depth on this year's Alpena girls track team, it gives coach Collin Riffert a myriad of options when filling out events for a meet, even if it means putting some runners in events they aren't normally in.
That depth paid big dividends for the Wildcats on Wednesday as they defeated Big North rivals Traverse City Central and Cadillac in a home tri-meet at Thunder Bay Junior High School.
The Alpena girls took 10 firsts and finished with 73 points, ahead of 67 1/2 for Central and 33 1/2 for Cadillac.
News Photos by James Andersen
LEFT: Alpena’s Alex Guzman competes in the long jump during a tri-meet on Wednesday at Thunder Bay Junior High School. RIGHT: Alpena’s Jenna Talbot competes in the pole vault during Wednesday’s tri-meet.
The Alpena girls track team poses with Dave Dziubinski from LaFarge prior to Wednesday’s home meet. Lafarge donated money toward the purchasing of new uniforms for the team.
Alpena's boys track team also topped the field, finishing with 63 points to best Cadillac (57) and Central (54 1/2).
Taylor Stepanski won the 400 (1:00.97) and nearly broke a school record in the process of running and winning the 3200 run (11:33), an event she doesn't usually run.
"We did great today. It was a fabulous day for us. We tried some kids out in some new events and they came through strong," Riffert said. "A lot of it is experimenting and trying to figure out where they're going to give us the most points as a team."
Emily McAnsh won the 100 dash (12.87) and 200 dash (26.67) and also ran in the 1600 run.
Alpena swept the hurdles with Christina Kollien winning the 100 hurdles (16.38) and Paige Stepanski winning the 300 hurdles (47.81).
Other firsts for Alpena were: the 3200 relay team of McAnsh, Kollien, Paige Stepanski and Emily Duncan (10:41.36); Kelsey Lewis in the 1600 run (5:28); the 1600 relay team (4:10) and Emily Ferguson in the discus (129-6 1/2).
Riffert was happy with his team's performance and pointed to the fact that Alpena's depth will come in handy late in the season particularly in regionals and at the conference meet.
"It is a great feeling and a bad feeling, because you always sit there and question yourself like, 'OK, where do i need to put these girls so that we have the best chance. But it's awesome," Riffert said. "I know I can throw McAnsh in anything from the 100 up to the mile and Taylor in anything from the 400 up to the two-mile. That range gives us a lot of possibilities on our team and a lot of variants and makes us strong."
Second place finishers for the Alpena girls were: Paige Stepanski in the 100 hurdles (16.72); Sarah Swider in the high jump (4-8); and Lewis in the 800 run (2:29.7).
Third place finishes went to: Courtney Holmes in the 100 dash (17.39); Anjelica Patterson in the shot put (30-1 1/2); the 800 relay team (1:53:07); Kollien in the 400 dash (1:04.92); Jenna Talbot in the 300 hurdles (53.60); Swider in the long jump (15-2); Victoria Guzman in the pole vault (8-6); and Amy McNeil in the discus (86-6).
Central took five firsts and Cadillac had two.
The Wildcats' boys team took four firsts including the 800 relay (1:35.51) and the 1600 relay (3:33.76).
Andrew Sumerix won the high jump (5-8) and Jared LaBarge won the 800 run (2:00.86).
Despite only four first place finishes, the Wildcats' boys team earned a high number of points with 10 runner-up finishes.
"We were pretty happy. We had a strong performance and lots of PRs," Alpena boys coach Bob Bennett said. "Our kids showed up to compete and they did. Traverse City Central and Cadillac have a lot of quality athletes."
Cadillac had eight firsts and Central had five.
Second place finishers for Alpena were: the 3200 relay (8:16.24); JD Niergarth in the high jump (5-8); Ashton Dever in the 100 dash (11:20) and 200 dash (23.33); the 400 relay team (45.86); Aaron Keyes in the 300 hurdles (12.41); Ethan Seigert in the shot put (46-8) and the discus (147-3 1/2); Aaron Golbeck in the pole vault (12-0) and Ethan Crowell in the 3200 run (10:07.55).
Third place finishes went to: Sumerix in the 100 hurdles (16.95); LaBarge in the 1600 run (4:40.48); Tom Dihle in the discus (135-5); Dever in the long jump (18-9 3/4); and Kevin Bey in the pole vault (12-0).