Lady Pilgrims take 2nd at NLCs

WARSAW — At the start of the season, Plymouth girls track coach Paul Patrick had no idea how good his team would be. He certainly didn't anticipate the Lady Pilgrims' stellar Northern Lakes Conference finish.
With host Warsaw in a league of its own, the rest of a tightly-bunched NLC pack was left to battle it out for second place at Tuesday's conference championship meet. In the end, Plymouth backed up a second-place finish in the league dual meet season with a runner-up finish at the championships, the team's highest finish at the meet since Patrick took the reigns nine years ago.
"At the beginning of the year I didn't think our team was that good," recalled Patrick. "It turns out to be the best team that I've ever had. This is my ninth year with the girls, and this is the highest record we've had dual record-wise and the highest finish we've ever had at the championship meet.
"I told the girls coming off the bus, nobody's coming here trying to beat Warsaw. Everybody's fighting for second. And I am very, very pleased with being second," said the PHS girls skipper. "For us to finish second is a heck of a thing for these girls. I am so proud of them."
The Lady Pilgrims were buoyed by a pair of championships at Tuesday's meet.
First, Libby Read claimed the championship in the open 400, an exciting finish in her first year ever running the event.
"This is the first year she's run the 400 individually. She's been on the 4x400, but she wanted to run the 400, she thought she was fast enough, and Allie (Wright) wanted to run the 800, so they kind of switched events," explained Patrick.
In the final meet of the night, 1600-meter relay anchor Allie Wright earned the team a narrow come-from-behind win, and she, Read, Kaydon Fosler and Rachel Crawford celebrated their championship in the infield following the close race.
"I know that if I can get Allie the baton with less than 14 or 15 meters, it's going to be close. And she battled; she's such a competitor," said Patrick. "Libbie set it up, Rachel put us right in the spot, and Kaydon on that third leg she was leading with 100 meters to go. I knew she was going to fade because she hasn't run a lot of quarters, but she battled. She was upset that she didn't win the high jump, and she knew that the 4x400 was her last chance to get a championship, and she did it. I was proud of that group."
Meanwhile, Plymouth's boys team fell off pace from its finish in the dual meet season with an eighth-place result at Tuesday's championship meet. Still, Plymouth head coach John Barron couldn't argue with his athletes' times.
"I'm happy with the kids. We competed well," said Barron. "Michael (Hartman) ran his fastest time of the year, Mason Reed ran his fastest time of the year, the relays all ran their fastest times of the year, so I'm happy with our kids' performances."
The Pilgrims didn't win a championship, but Michael Hartman was close with a second-place photo finish in the 400-meter run.
Hartman also finished second in another dead heat in the 100-meter dash earlier in the evening.
"Michael was a dead heat with the exact same time, but the officials called the Warsaw kid."
Perhaps the gutsiest performance of the night was put in by Levi Schuler, who ran a leg of the 3200-meter relay before turning around and racing in the 110-meter hurdles in the very next event.
"The kid I've got to talk about is Levi Schuler. Because of the rain, they changed the schedule, and we put him in the 4x800, and he ran a great leg and then the very next race he made the finals in the 110-meter hurdles, and he had maybe five minutes of rest. I've never seen that in my life," said Barron.
"It just kind of shows the character of our kids — they're tough kids."
With Tuesday's Northern Lakes Conference meet out of the way, the Plymouth teams are now focusing on next week's sectional meets.
The girls will take the field at Rochester Tuesday, while the boys play host to a 10-team field Thursday night.
"Hopefully tonight will carry over into next week," said Patrick. "We need to get a little bit of support from our 100 and 200, we need to get some help there. If we can get into the finals with our sprinters I think we'll be right there. We don't have a ton of weaknesses."
"Now we've got about seven days here to get prepared for the sectional, and that's always the biggest thing on our meet schedule," Barron said. "The kids will be excited for it. We need to get them rested and then get them on the track for some speed work and then be ready to go."
Team Scores: 1. Warsaw 176, 2. Plymouth 112.5, 3. Elkhart Memorial 100, 4. Goshen 91.5, 5. Concord 86, 6. Wawasee 62, 7. Northridge 58.5, 8. NorthWood 43.5
(Top 3)
4x800 Relay: 1. Warsaw (Hannah Dawson, Brooke Rhodes, Allison Miller, Anna Craig) 9:42.38, 2, Plymouth (Libby Read, Rachel Crawford, Abby Patrick, Allie Wright) 9:43.72; 100 Hurdles: 1. Jessica O’Connell (C) 15.52, 2. Jackie Ferguson (War) 16.22, 3. Cianna Bonfiglio (C) 16.90; 100: 1. Ann Harvuot (War) 12.70, 2. Mariah Harter (War) 12.85, 3. Mariah DeFreese (C) 13.31; 1600: 1. Sierra Moore (EM) 5:14.15, 2. Ashton Ellis (G) 5:32.48, 3. Haley Lehman (EM) 5:33.53; 4x100 Relay: 1. Warsaw (Harter, Samantha Alexander, Audrey Rich, Harvuot) 49.75, 2. Concord (DeFreese, Michelle Detwiler, Bonfiglio, O’Connell) 51.14; 400: 1. Read (P) 1:01.51, 2. Tennie Worrell (War) 1:01.99, 3. Abby Adams (NW) 1:03.05; 300 Hurdles: 1. O’Connell (C) 46.05, 2. Nicole Eckert (War) 47.85, 3. Ferguson (War) 48.49; 800: 1. Moore (EM) 2:19.06, 2. Wright (P) 2:19.62, 3. Dawson (War) 2:26.44; 200: 1. Rich (War) 26.23, 2. DeFreese (C) 27.31, 3. Alexander (War) 27.80; 3200: 1. Miller (War) 11:50.02, 2. Ellis (G) 12:09.39, 3. Emma Hayward (War) 12:10.63; 4x400 Relay: 1. Plymouth (Read, Rachel Crawford, Kaydon Fosler, Wright) 4:07.14, 2. Warsaw (Eckert, Ferguson, Rhodes, Worrell) 4:07.37; High Jump: 1. Maria Corbett (G) 5-2, 2. Fosler (P) 5-1, 3. Skylar Axsom (EM) 5-0; Long Jump: 1. Alexander (War) 16-2.5, 2. Detwiler (C) 15-.5, 3. Fosler (P) 15-3.75; Discus: 1. Kristen Hanson (G) 103-1, 2. Hannah Winters (Waw) 101-10, 3. Kim Swank (Nr) 98-5; Shot Put: 1. Deanna Cornelius (EM) 39-11.75, 2. Brooklyn Harrison (War) 36-9.75, 3. Kassandra Rodriguez (G) 34-10.25; Pole Vault: 1. Hickerson (War) 9-4, 2. Shannon Winslow (War) 9-0, 3. Taylor Busse (Waw) 9-0.
Team Scores: 1. Warsaw 188, 2. Wawasee 115.5, 3. Goshen 92.5, 4. Northridge 81, 5. Elkhart Memorial 72.5, 6. NorthWood 61.5, 7. Concord 61.5, 8. Plymouth 57.5
(Top 3)
4x800 Relay: 1. Warsaw (Ismael Calderon, Nick Bergen, Daniel Messenger, Tyler Houvener) 8:08.39, 2. Northridge (Conner Sandt, Jailyn Rolle, Nolan Rhodes, Neel Patel) 8:18.50; 100 Hurdles: 1. Clayton Cook (Waw) 14.79, 2. Steven Johnson (EM) 15.82, 3. Austin Healey (Nr) 15.87; 100: 1. Michael Miller (War) 11.19, 2. Michael Hartman (P) 11.33, 3. Jerrell Pointdexter (C) 11.60; 1600: 1. Ellis Coon (War) 4:22.27, 2. Blake Kramer (EM) 4:25.23, 3. Zach Cockrill (Waw) 4:26.53; 4x100 Relay: 1. Warsaw (Balazs, Tristan McClone, Gabe Furnivall, Miller) 43.13, 2. Wawasee (Michael Pena, Courter, J.J. Gilmer, Clayton Cook) 43.50; 400: 1. Furnivall (War) 50.45, 2. Hartman (P) 50.45, 3. Darnell Bean (C) 51.45; 300 Hurdles: 1. Cook (Waw) 41.35, 2. Campbell (War) 41.59, 3. Ross Armey (War) 42.04; 800: 1. Kramer (EM) 1:57.89, 2. Cockrill (Waw) 1:59.65, 3. Nick Skwarcan (NW) 2:00.63; 200: 1. Cook (Waw) 22.64, 2. McClone (War) 23.16, 3. Storm Stapleton (War) 23.35; 3200: 1. Coon (War) 9:45.99, 2. Sandt (Nr) 9:50.66, 3. Gerardo Abad (G) 9:56.47; 4x400 Relay: 1. Warsaw (Landon Perry, Ryan Goon, Chad Goon, Furnivall) 3:25.84, 2. ; High Jump: 1. Stephen Kolbe (War) 6-4, 2. Gilmer (Waw) 6-4, 3. Bennett Parker (NW) 6-0; Long Jump: 1. Rashaan Jackson (War) 20-5.25, 2. Gilmer (Waw) 20-4, 3. Ramon Johnson (C) 19-10; Discus: 1. Andrew Scheidt (War) 140-10, 2. Seth Fouts (War) 137-5, 3. Ethan Brown (Waw) 137-2; Shot Put: 1. Fouts (War) 57-5, 2. Michael Fickert (Nr) 53-2.5, 3. Bryce Banghart (EM) 46-10.5; Pole Vault: 1. Jacob Isnogle (G) 12-0, 2. David Welker (Nr) 11-6, 3. Kevin Carpenter (Waw) 11-6.