Nick Warner, 16, of Meridian High School competed Saturday afternoon during high school track and field events at St Louis High School. Warner competed in the boys mile relay. - (Alicia Dale | Saginaw News)
ST. LOUIS — The Pioneers picked up the victory early in the 2011 season Saturday, winning six relays and beating Alma, 104-88 at the St. Louis Relays. Either Alma or Clare won 12 of the 14 relays.
Sparta finished in third place, followed by Shepherd in fourth.
The Clare boys, which sports just two seniors, got contributions from both of them, as well as its underclassmen.
The Pioneers won six events, including the high jump, pole vault and long jump relays. The two Clare seniors, Chase Grove and Jamie Blackwell each had a hand in two of those relays and combined to form the winning long jump team.
Jake McFadden also had a hand in two of the running relays. Clare also won the 800 meter medley relay, eight-mile relay and shuttle hurdle relay.
“We’re very young,” Clare coach Adam Burhans said. “We have some decent freshman. I expected them to make some mistakes, because we haven’t competed in four weeks. We had some obvious rusty spots, but overall it was great.”
Alma boys won six events. Cole Woods and Sam Morey teammed up for a discus win. Tyler Bradshaw and Seb SanMiguel ran a leg in three of the winning relays and Adam Sanchez, Lupe Garza, Chaz Bradshaw, Vinny Costanzo and Tim DeJong each ran a leg in two of the winning relays for Alma.
The Panthers were disqualified in two events and were in first or second in both events at the time of the disqualification, which could have made the difference.
That was the difference in the meet, Alma coach Chris Brown said. That's a little bit disappointing. Other than those two DQ's, I was pleased. Most of the races we won, none of them were really close. We had some pretty good splits too.
Valley Lutheran finished third or better in three sprint relays. The Chargers won the Tri-Valley Conference West title last year on both sides.
The relay team of Brett Hoffman, Evan Howard, Kelly Paron and Darius Taylor earned second place in the 400 meter relay with a time of 46.7 and the St. Louis relay (runs of 200 meters, 100, 100, 200). Paron and Taylor also helped lead the 800 meter relay to a third place finish.
The sprinters had a really good day, Valley Lutheran coach Jon Frank said. It was a much stronger field than I anticipated. Shepherd's tough. Alma has some nice runners. Clare, they are picking up right where they left off.