Lady Blue Devils Win Regionals; Third Record Broken This Season

For the first time ever, the Sault High Blue Devils girls brought home the Regional track and field title. The State qualifying meet was held in Gladstone this year and the girls ended up with 56 points, over Gladstone’s 43 points, 30 for Marquette, Manistique with 27, Escanaba with 21, and Menominee had 10. The 4×200 relay team of Dayna Szabo, Ahnaka Oshelski, Grace Mayer and Bella Smith not only won their event, but broke the school record set in 2010, with a new time of 1:48.62. Girls’ Head Coach Scott Menard noted this was “a true team effort! Very proud of the girls and the coaches for the way we performed.” The boys earned 44.5 points, and were runners up to Marquette with 82 points. Hosts Gladstone had 25.5, Menominee and Manistique tied with 15, and Escanaba had 5 points. The top four placers in each event will move on to the UP State Finals in Kingsford in June. 

Regional champions for the Blue Devils include Ryver Ryckeghem winning both the 100m (11.47) and 200m (23.77), and Gabe Litzner winning both the 1600m (4:33) and 3200m (9:45.65). The 4×800 relay team of Eli Hills, Shea Armstrong, Adam Brandt, and Caleb Klier won an exciting race, with a time of 8:46.11. Rayce Rizzo was the pole vault champion, tying his personal best (13’6). Evan Arbic won the shot put (43’6) and Johnny Osborn won the adaptive shot put (17’9 – PR). Oshelski won both the girls’ 100m (17.21) and 300m (49.26) hurdles. The 4×400 relay team of Izzy DeWildt, Mayer, Abby Walther and Szabo won with a time of 4:18.43, and the 4×800 relay team of DeWildt, Stephanie Jones, Walther and Taryn Pratt also won their relay, with a time of 10:30.32.

Regional runners up include Osborn in the 100m adaptive (24.86 – PR), 200m adaptive (48.38 – PR) and 400m adaptive (1:38.57 – PR), and Brady Ditmyer in shot put (43’1). For the girls, Smith was runner up in the 200m (27.86), Mayer in the 400m (1:02.92 – PR), Pratt in the 800m (2:33.33 – PR), Walther in the 1600m (5:39.69 – PR) and Annabelle Fazzari in the 100m hurdles. The 4×100 relay team of Natalie Prestien, Mayer, DeWildt and Smith finished with a time of 53:43. Fazzari was also runner up in the shot put (34’3.5), and Katie Anderson qualified in discus (101’8). 

Third place finishers for the Blue Devils include the boys’ 4×100 relay team of Dean Roe, Donnivan Dykraaf, Klier and Javonte Bellamy (46.88) and Rizzo in the long jump (19’5). Szabo was third in the girls’ 400m (1:03.40) and Fazzari also qualified in discus (89’4). 

Rounding out the Blue Devils that advanced to the finals with a fourth place finish include Isaac Niebuhr in the 110 hurdles (18:27) and the 4×200 relay team of Roe, Klier, Dykraaf and Ryckeghem with a time of 1:37.34. Talon Thomas-Holm tied for fourth in high jump (5’10). For the girls, Smith qualified in the 100m (13.80), Anderson qualified in shot put (32’9.5) and Natalie Heyrman qualified in long jump (14’11 – PR). 

Boys’ Head Coach Jim Martin noted “Really proud of the kids’ efforts. Rayce Rizzo, Ryver Ryckegem, Gabe Litzner all did super well. As did our shot putters who went 1-2 (Arbic and Ditmeyer). First three relays got out but the 1600 relay missed by less that a tenth of a second. Isaac Niebuhr ran the race of a lifetime to qualify in the hurdles while Talon qualified out in the high jump. Near as I can tell, best finish place and highest team score we’ve ever had at Regionals.”

Brad Boven, who coaches the throwers, shared “It’ll be the first time I’ve taken two boys the same year that qualified and am excited to see how they do at the state meet. On the girls side we have returners that have a lot of experience at the state level and we are preparing to show up in a big way. We are also looking forward to our conference championship this coming Tuesday in St Ignace.”

In preparation for the UP State Finals, the Blue Devils will compete in the Straits Area Conference Championships, and the Northern Michigan Meet of Champions in Gaylord the following week. 

Photo credit: Ursula Walther, Andrea Osborn, Katie Peabody 

Katie Peabody, Staff Writer

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