Reeths-Puffer races to the top of the field, wins girls city track meet

By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Powered by five first-place finishes, the Reeths-Puffer Rockets hoisted the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Meet trophy on their home track on Friday night.

The Rockets tallied 126 points to outdistance runnerup Mona Shores, which also topped the century mark with 106 points. Muskegon was third with 50, followed by Whitehall with 48 and Fruitport with 45.

The meet was the 60th, having begun in 1954 with just four teams (Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, North Muskegon and Muskegon Catholic).

On Friday, Christy Schultz was the leader of the Rockets with three individual first-place finishes. She won the 100, the 200 and the long jump and also ran the anchor leg of the Rockets’ 400 relay team. Schultz won the 100 in 12.36, the 200 in 26.44 and her long jump effort of 17-9½ was more than a foot better than the runnerup.

Reeths-Puffer also received a big 10 points for finishing first when Brianna Greinke won the 300 hurdles in 48.12.

“Obviously, Christy Schultz is a stud,” Rocket coach Gary Niklasch said. “I really can’t say it any different than that. She had an unbelievable day today.”

Not a bad finish after a bit of a rocky start.

“Things didn’t start out as well in the field events for us, we just had some letdowns, if you want to call it that, but some of the girls just stepped up and filled in some spots where we needed some people to step up and they did,” Niklasch said. “It was awesome to see. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls right now.”

Runner-up Mona Shores had its share of solid performances as well, led by first-place finishes by Renee Tardani, who won the 800 despite the fact it was just the third time she’s run that race, and McKenzie Jackson, who won the shot put.

The Sailors 800 and 1600 relay teams also claimed titles.

Whitehall’s Jessica Harris was a two-time winner with victories in the 1600 and 3200 races.

Other winners were Fruitport’s Brianna Pekel in the 400, Whitehall’s Autumn Christianson in the 100  hurdles, Western Michigan Christian’s Rachel Bruinsma in the high jump, Fruitport’s Emily Dupont in the pole vault and Ravenna’s Hannah Schmiedeknecht in the discus.

North Muskegon claimed the title in the 3200 relay.

“Today it was just a full team effort that it came down to instead of counting on one person,” Niklasch said. “To me, I want to win our conference and that’s a No. 1 goal too, but over the years, this has become one of my favorites as a coach.”

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