Jones and Stoltz take second place for Huskies on track

JENISON – The heroic efforts of Hunter Jones and Seth Stoltz helped the Huskies place second in state at the MHSAA Track and Field Finals on June 5.

Compared to the Team State, which takes place every year one week in advance, the success of the team in the MHSAA State Finals depends on having multiple elite athletes who can win or compete for the best places in several races, and Benzie Central had it this year at Jones and Stoltz.

Even so, Jones expressed his amazement that it worked for the Huskies to win a trophy.

“It was like a shock, because we only had two guys that went to the States, and I never thought it could happen with us alone, but it was really amazing and all the work hard work that me and my team have done is paying off, “said Jones.” Coaches help us a lot by pushing us every day to practice and telling us the right things to do. “

Jones carried a heavy load when competing, competing in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m, while most distance runners typically only run one or two better races to make sure they are as cool as possible to have a good time.

Nonetheless, reigning two-time state cross country champion Jones is not just any runner.

Jones came out strong with a victory in the 1,600 meters (4: 17.18) and then set a new personal best in the 800 to finish second in the race (1: 56.64.). After a very short rest Jones returned for the 3,200 meters, battling fatigue to finish second (9: 33.22) in a field of much cooler runners.

“The state final was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Jones said. “It was both physically and mentally exhausting with the heat and the short periods of rest. I just told myself to keep doing my best. Of course the two miles was really tough for me after the 800, so I focused on the one foot in front of the other and not falling out of the race. My performance and my courage within two miles is the reason we have this finalist trophy. “

“I appreciated the attention of everyone and everyone who gave me props to host three events and called me crazy,” Jones continued. “Even though I didn’t do as well as I would like, I knew I had to (run all three events) to get that second-team trophy. It was totally worth it, and I would definitely do it again if I had to. do it, no matter how painful it was. “

Of course, even Jones’ Herculean efforts alone weren’t enough to add a state runner-up banner to the high school gymnasium. He needed a teammate to step in, and Stoltz answered the bell.

Stoltz came in big for the Huskies to claim the final qualifying spot for the 100-meter final. He then moved up the field in the final to finish sixth in the event (11:51). Stoltz went on to add a fourth place finish in the 200-meter (23.41), rising again from his arrival in the prelims.

“Seth was rock solid in his first final,” said Benzie Central coach Asa Kelly. “He worked on it for years and reaped the rewards today with two podiums.”

The Huskies finished with a team score of 34 points, four points ahead of Pewamo-Westphalia with 30 points. Grass Lake won the tag team championship with 64 points.

Benzie Central’s Jones and Stoltz duo accomplished this feat on a very hot day.

“The heat was a huge factor,” Kelly said. “With air temperatures of 88 and track temperatures well above 100, it came at a cost to everyone, but especially the kids in the distance races. The longer the event, the more it has to offer. impact on children. In the 3,200 races we have seen many children collapse on the infield. “

Although they didn’t score as high as a team, the girls from Benzie Central also had a big day at the state competition.

Cierra Guay, Elise Johnson, Mylie Kelly and Madison Teichman raced for medals and a fourth place finish in the 4×800-meter relay to start the running events.

“It’s been a solid tradition for years now,” Kelly said of the girls’ success in the race. “Cierra had a phenomenal stage in the lead and put us in the lead. Mylie followed with her best time of the season. Then Maddie and Elise closed the deal for a fourth place finish.”

Kelly later won a medal with a seventh place in the 1600 meters (5: 14.08).

Kelly also clinched a medal with a fifth place in the 3,200-meter (11: 31.14), and Guay ended his high school racing career with an eighth place to also win all-state honors in the event (11 : 53.81).

“Mylie has proven how strong she is and how far she came with two All State rankings in 1600 and 3200,” said Kelly. “The girl who finished ahead of her from Hart was 1:35 faster than she was in 1600 when they raced in college. She was only the next place ahead of her on Saturday… Cierra ended her career with another prize of all the States and his best 3200 meters of the season. What a brave child and a great career. “

Liathano Ramirez narrowly missed the medal with a 10th place finish in the shot put (34-08) and the discus (99-04).

The state meet marks the conclusion of a very successful season for the Huskies. Benzie Central’s men’s team finished conference champion and runner-up in the MHSAA State Finals, while the women’s team won their region and finished second at Team MITCA State.

About Ethel Partin

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