EGELSTON TWP. – The Montague girls track team needed a clutch performance in the 4×400 relay, the final event of the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association track meet at Oakridge High School on Friday.
And a clutch performance is just what the Wildcats got with Britta Johnson finishing the last leg of the relay.
Facing a slight deficit to a Whitehall runner when she took the baton, Johnson quickly ran down her opponent in the first 200 meters and held on for the win.
Her relay team’s victory gave Montague the points it needed to win the title, just barely. The Wildcats finished with 117 points. followed by archrival and defending champion Whitehall with 115.
“I knew it came down to this race,” said Johnson, who teamed with Brooke Stark, Haylee Schwarz and Lauren Smith on the relay. “I knew I had to dig deep. I sprinted the first 200 and pulled through in the last 100 meters. I knew I had to kick it in to win.”
“lt means a lot to me. I’m proud to do it for Montague and Coach Fick. I’m happy to do it for him and all the credit he’ll get for this.”
The victory was a role reversal after Montague finished second in the meet behind Whitehall last year.
“It’s been a while,” said Montague coach Terry Fick, who was unsure about the last time Montague won the event. “We’ve been second to Whitehall quite a few times. It’s got to be over 25 years. The girls have bought into the hard work.”
Also winning city titles for Montague on the day were Natalie Erickson (200 M), Johnson (400 M), the relay team of Stark, Smith, Maddie Meacham and Erickson (4×100), the relay team of Johnson, Smith, Meacham and Erickson (4×200), and Claire Meacham (shot put).
“This was one of their goals,” said Fick about the performance his team had on Friday. “Conference is another one and we still got that to go. Hopefully we can do that and win regionals at home.”
Rounding out the team scores for the girls were Mona Shores (75), Western Michigan Christian (62.5), North Muskegon (55), Muskegon (45), Ravenna (18.5), Reeths-Puffer (18), Fruitport (13) and Oakridge (4).
In the boys meet, the Whitehall Vikings put on a dominant performance, finishing with a total of 155, which more than doubled second place Reeths-Puffer’s 76 points.
Rounding out the boys team scores were Muskegon (52), Mona Shores (48), Fruitport (46), Montague (40), Oakridge (36), North Muskegon (24), Orchard View (24), Holton (20) and Western Michigan Christian (6).
The GMAA title is the first for the Whitehall boys since 2013, and the Vikings are hopeful it will spur them on to postseason success in a few weeks, according to Coach Charlie Mikkelson.
“I’m really impressed,” Mikkelson said. “Everyone has at least one good athlete they bring to this meet. It’s a tough meet to compete at. We knew we’d try to use this meet as a springboard into team state.”
Winning city championships for Whitehall were Trannon Aylor (400M), the relay team of Logan Sines, Aylor, Lukas Palmer and Nate Bolley (4×400 Relay), Wesley Russell (shot put), Gabe Reavey (discus), Camden Thompson (high jump), and David Conrad (pole vault).
“They were outstanding,” said Mikkelson about his team winning four of the five field events. “We won four of the five and Nate Bolley came in second in the other. He almost won that, also. So that was huge.”
The win was special, according to Bolley, who was a part of the champion 4×400 relay team along with finishing runner-up in long jump, 4×200 relay and 400 meters.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It gets us rolling. It really puts us out there to show how good we are and get us ready for those bigger meets.”
Girls GMAA Champions
100 M: Anabeth Hylland (Mona Shores) 12.47
200 M: Natalie Erickson (Montague) 25.99
400 M: Britta Johnson (Montague) 1:03.48
800 M: Cami Kraai (Whitehall) 2:28.19
1600M: Carolyn Bennett (North Muskegon) 5:32.19
3200M: Grace VanderKooi (Western Michigan Christian) 12:03.50
100M Hurdles: Charley Klint (Whitehall) 16.86
300M Hurdles: Charley Klint (Whitehall) 51.83
4×100 Relay: Brooke Stark, Lauren Smith, Maddie Meacham, Natalie Erickson (Montague) 51.47
4×200 Relay: Britta Johnson, Lauren Smith, Maddie Meacham, Natalie Erickson (Montague) 1:48.54
4×400 Relay: Brooke Stark, Haylee Schwarz, Lauren Smith, Britta Johnson (Montague) 4:22.77
4×800 Relay: Nora Andreson, Grace VanderKooi, Ava Rotman, Grace Folkema (Western Michigan Christian) 10:31.45
Shot Put: Claire Meacham (Montague) 33’8.5
Discus: Maelie Hope (Whitehall) 123’1.5
High Jump: Arianna Black (Whitehall) 4’8
Pole Vault: Alyssa Lohman (Whitehall) 8’0
Long Jump: Anabeth Hylland (Mona Shores) 16’4.5
Boys GMAA Champions
100M: Destin Piggee (Muskegon) 10.97
200M: Destin Piggee (Muskegon) 22.57
400M: Trannon Aylor (Whitehall) 52.00
800M: Jaxon Allen (Reeths-Puffer) 2:04.67
1600M: Jaxon Allen (Reeths-Puffer) 4:45.40
3200M: Klay Grant (Reeths-Puffer) 9:32.55
110M Hurdles: James Hunter (Holton) 15.41
300M Hurdles: James Hunter (Holton) 41.47
4×100 Relay: Wanyai Johnson, Destin Piggee, Jakob Price, CJ Ivy III (Muskegon) 43.57
4×200 Relay: Sean Gieske, Cody Nash, Paschal Jolman, Camden Farrell (Fruitport) 1:30.92
4×400 Relay: Logan Sines, Trannon Aylor, Lukas Palmer, Nate Bolley (Whitehall) 3:36.08
4×800 Relay: Klay Grant, Jaxon Allen, Tate Bradley, Kye Grant (Reeths-Puffer) 8:29.22
Shot Put: Wesley Russell (Whitehall) 44’5
Discus: Gabe Reavey (Whitehall) 127’3
High Jump: Camden Thompson (Whitehall) 6’0
Pole Vault: David Conrad (Whitehall) 14’6
Long Jump: Demitri Roberson (Mona Shores) 21’0.5