Three Wildcats headed to state finals
MIDLAND — The Alpena High track and field teams had a stellar showing at Friday’s Division I Regional Meet at Midland High School. Nine Alpena athletes earned medals as top eight finishers in six different events, and three performers punched their tickets to the state finals.
Senior Cooper Bright led the charge as a regional champion for the Wildcats, blazing a 50.41 season-best 400 dash time to win the race. Bright made his return trip to the state finals an exciting one as he edged out H.H. Dow’s Noah Reuter-Gushow in the final 100 meters for the win. Last year’s 400 dash regional showdown saw Reuter-Gushow finish in second place ahead of Bright’s third-place effort, but Bright was able to win this year’s rematch.
Junior Elijah Allen was Alpena’s next state qualifier in the 300 hurdles, gritting his way to a new PR of 42.26 to finish in second place and earn a spot at the finals. After coming in seeded fourth overall, Allen improved upon his previous best by over a quarter of a second to beat out two higher seeds in Mt. Pleasant’s Mason Rondy and Traverse City West’s Wally Tupper. Allen made a major move from fifth to second in the final 100 meters to earn his trip to Rockford.
For the girls team, senior Madi Szymanski ran her way to a third-place 3,200 run finish and a state-qualifying time of 11.07.87. Szymanski will look to top a 14th place finish from last June and finish as an all-stater. Szymanski will compete against fellow seniors Julia Flynn of Traverse City Central and Malarie Pinwar of Mt. Pleasant.
Also earning medals for the boys team were sophomore Joe Sheridan in the 110 hurdles, sophomore Julian Stevens in the 400 dash, and the 4×800 relay team of Andrew Dargis, Hayden Allen, Hunter Hitzelberger, and Elijah Allen.
Sheridan finished fifth overall with a personal record of 16.07. His high finish was well ahead of his seed time of ninth overall. In the 400 dash, Stevens ran a personal record of 52.19 to finish fifth. In the 4×800 relay, the Alpena team ran a time of 8:34.97 to finish in fifth place.
Lastly, senior Allie Urlaub leaped her way to a sixth-place medal in the long jump. Urlaub’s jump of 15 feet, 4.5 inches in the finals was a personal record by two inches, launching her into medal position.
Allen, Bright, and Szymanski will compete at the state finals at Rockford High School on June 4.