D3 Track: ND girls keep title; NC boys in draw

D3 regional track

North Dickinson'ss Vanessa Lindholm finishes second in the 800 run during the MHSAA Division 3 regional track and field meet on Friday, May 17, 2019, in Felch, Mich. North Dickinson head coach Mike Roell said Lindholm's second-place finish was a key moment in the NordicsÕ girls regional championship. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

FELCH — North Dickinson’s girls track and field team repeated as MHSAA Division 3 regional champions after edging Stephenson by five points on Friday.

The Nordics scored 73 points to Stephenson’s 68. Carney-Nadeau (25.5) took third, followed by Forest Park (9), North Central (8) and Watersmeet (3).

The North Central boys tied with Stephenson for the title with 57 points each. The Eagles took the trophy home. The Jets’ trophy will be shipped to the school. It’s North Central’s fourth straight regional title.

Forest Park (36) took third, followed by North Dickinson (14), Carney Nadeau (10), Hannahville-Nah Tah Wah (6) and Watersmeet (3).

With one first-place finish worth five points, the regional title came down to the final race, the 1600-meter relay. North Dickinson won by a four-second margin over Carney-Nadeau and nearly 18 seconds over Stephenson.

But Nordics head coach Mike Roell said the turning point of the meet came before the 1600.

“I really think the 800 run turned the track meet,” he said. “Brianna Smith winning that event and Vanessa Lindholm coming out of nowhere to get second, it gave us eight points in that event and kicked Stephenson out of there and they didn’t score in that event.

“It was really the difference today. It was so close. That was just unexpected. Venessa coming up there and working for that second was just huge for us. I think it really swung the momentum. The other girls started to believe and that was huge.”

Smith crossed the line during the 800 with a time of 2:43.04. Lindholm crossed three seconds later.

Roell said contributions came everywhere from his team.

“Chrislyn Inglese had a big day in the hurdles for us,” Roell said. “Masyn (Alexa) is Masyn. Skye (Ledzian) won the shot and discus. Hannah Clark won the pole vault. We had some great performances today. We needed it to beat Stephenson. I take my hat off to them. That’s a great track team.”

Alexa won the 100 dash (13.33) and the 400 dash (1:02.41). She took second in the 200 dash (27.53) behind Stephenson’s Amanda Starzynski (27.40).

Smith took second behind Starzynski in the long jump.

Inglese took second in the 100 hurdles (18.64) behind Stephenson’s Lilly Grinsteiner (18.50). She also took first in the 300 hurdles (53.31).

Inglese and Alexa were the third and fourth leg, respectively, of the 1600 relay.

Ledzian won the shot put at 31 feet, 6.75 inches. She also won discus at 92 feet, 6 inches. Clark took the pole vault at 8 feet, 6 inches.

North Central’s tall task of beating Stephenson was complicated by Griffin Johnson, who had been recently hospitalized in fighting illness.

“He was just apologizing all day because his performance hasn’t been where it should be, but I’m like don’t worry about it,” North Central boys’ coach Cherie Granquist said. “He was going to blame himself. I’m so happy we tied. I got a lot of freshmen on my team, so that was good too they got to experience some victories.”

Granquist said she knew it’d be tough to beat Stephenson regardless of Johnson’s health.

“I knew it was going to be a battle with Stephenson,” she said. “All week I’ve been stressing and strategizing and trying to figure out where I could take points away. I knew it was going to come down to the wire. I’m just relieved it was a tie.”

For Stephenson, all the stops were removed in going for the win.

“He hasn’t been running every event in every meet,” Stephenson boys coach Logan Carlson said. “Today was the first time we let him go all out and he hasn’t disappointed yet.”

Glover won the 100 dash (11.30), 400 dash (51.39) and 200 dash (23.85).

The Eagles also qualified two freshmen distance runners for the UP Finals. Buckley Corey took second (11.35.67) and Engel took fourth (12:03.36). Forest Park’s Mason Rintala took first place (11:25.63).

“We haven’t had distance guys in there in a while,” Carlson said.

North Central’s Dean Bellmore won pole vault (10-6). He also took second in high jump (5-6) behind Carney-Nadeau’s Jacob Blahnik. Bellmore’s teammate Alex Naser won the long jump (18-4.25).

Forest Park’s Dawson Bongi took the 110 hurdles (17.27) followed by Bellmore (19.12).

Granquist said she made some adjustments to try and edge Stephenson. For instance, she switched around her 1600 and 800 relay teams.

“There was a little bit of science behind it. I went through as many meets as I could find, to see what Stephenson was turning in for times,” she said. “I definitely pored over some paperwork. There was some science and some of it was gut. I definitely made some adjustments. I am going to adjust that mile relay team one more time.”