Sault High Track and Field Off to a Good Start

Seven teams from the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Michigan competed at the LSSU Second Annual Yooper Invite 2023 on Friday afternoon. The first meet of the season gave athletes from Boyne City, Charlevoix, Indian River Inland Lakes, Kalkaska, Manistique, Rogers City and Sault Ste. Marie an opportunity to test their skills on the indoor track at the Norris Center. An abbreviated meet, the teams were able to compete in select field and running events. 

L-R Front Row Jillian Newhouse, Abby Walther, Cassandra Gallagher, Elise Proulx, and Isabella DeWildt. 
Back Row Coach Boven, Claire Erickson, Hannah Maurer, Kenzie Bell, Ava Mayer, Bella Smith, Annabelle Fazzari and Coach Menard. (photo credit: Coach Boven)

Under the direction of Head Coach, Scott Menard, Sault High’s Girls took a close second place to Indian River Inland Lakes. “I thought we competed very well.” Sophomore Bella Smith took first in the 200m (29.22) and teammates senior Mackenzie Bell took third (29.70) and senior Claire Erickson came in seventh place (30.16). Smith also placed third in the 55m (8.26) dash. In the 400m run, Junior Isabella DeWildt placed fourth (1:08.84), junior Dayna Szabo placed fifth (1:09.17) and sophomore Ava Mayer came in eighth (1:14.05). Junior Abby Walther took fourth in the 800m run (2:45.29). Sophomore Annabelle Fazzari had a second place finish in the 55m hurdles (10.36). The Sault did well in their distance races with junior Calla Armstrong taking sixth in the 1600m (6:41) and senior Cassandra Gallagher taking second in the 3200m (13:19.52). The girls’ relay teams had a strong showing at the event. Bell, Mayer, DeWildt and Erickson won the mile relay with a time of 4:37.81. Armstrong, freshman Elise Proulx, Walther and Gallagher finished the two mile relay in 11:38.98, earning third place for their team. In the field events, the Sault placed second, fourth and sixth in shot put. Senior Hannah Maurer threw 35-11, senior Ava Donmyer threw 32-03, and junior Katie Anderson threw 31-01. In high jump, freshman Gracie Akridge, jumped 4-02 to earn a 7th place finish. 

L-R Brady Ditmyer, Evan Arbic, James Smith, Coach Boven, Katie Anderson, Hannah Maurer and Ava Donmyer.  (Photo credit: Coach Boven)

The Boys team, with Head Coach Jim Martin, had some top Blue Devil finishers at the meet as well. Senior Alex Jacek took seventh in the 55m dash (7.23), junior Ryver Ryckeghem placed third in the 200m (25.23), and senior River Perez placed eighth in the 200m (26.10).  Senior Carter Oshelski finished second in the 400m (56.73), and senior Logan Haskins took third in the 800m (2:21.47). The boys had strong finishes in the distance races as well with senior Cody Aldridge taking second in the 1600m (4:43.92) and freshman Gabe Litzner outran his opponents in the 3200m run (10:07.89) taking first place. Freshman Adam Brandt came in seventh in the 3200m (13:25.34). Freshman Isaac Niebuhr placed fifth in the 55m hurdles (10.10) and sophomore Owen Rice was not far behind him placing eighth (10.23). The boys’ relay teams also fared well with sophomore Isaac Brindley, junior Talon Thomas-Holm, sophomore Donnivan Dykgraaf and Aldridge placing seventh in the mile relay with a time of 4:19.64. In the two mile relay, freshman Shea Armstrong, junior Devin Goetz, sophomore Evan Huyck, and senior Joseph Kasprzak also came in seventh place with a time of 10:38.24. In the field events, the Sault placed sixth, seventh and eighth in shot put, with freshman Brady Ditmyer throwing 37-02, junior James Smith throwing 37-01, and junior Evan Arbic throwing 35-07. In high jump, Junior Nathan Koepp came in seventh with a 5-04 jump. 

Menard and Martin are assisted by Brad Boven, Becky Arbic, Tony McLain, and Michael Rand. Rand is an LSSU student helping out the team this year. Coach Boven was pleased with the teams’ efforts at their first meet. “Being in the U.P. we are inside for quite a while for the first part of our track season. So, being able to get to a meet is our first opportunity to run in lanes as well as really practice our field events with the right equipment. The Yooper Invite was really a great opportunity for our returnees to shake the rust off and our new faces to get their feet wet. I want to thank the LSSU volunteers/workers for having a smoothly run first meet. Go Blue Devils!”

The team will travel to Alpena on Tuesday for their first outdoor meet of the season. 

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