By Steve Gunn and Andrew Johnson
Athletes come and go, but those squads remain great, season after season.
On Friday, the Rocket girls won their 10th consecutive title at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Track Meet at Fruitport High School, outdistancing runner-up Mona Shores 115-103.
The Trojan boys won their sixth straight title, beating out second-place Reeths-Puffer 114-90.
While the two teams’ domination of the annual event has become almost predictable, it’s also incredibly impressive.
“It means everything to us,” said Fruitport boys coach Chad Brandow. “These kids really work hard and do everything I ask them to do. It’s awesome.”
The Fruitport boys were powered by championships in four events on Friday. Brenden Deneen won the 800-meter dash and Ethan Flores captured first place in the 110-meter hurdles.
Two Fruitport relay teams also took top honors – the 4X200 meter squad (Dakota Mitchell, Ethan Flores, Cameron Weaver and Zach Pray) and the 4X800 squad (Jon Wildey, Cameron Walker, Jaxon Deneen and Brendan Deneen).
Brandow became emotional when talking to reporters, explaining that “I’m getting close to the end. I’m in a lot of pain. My hips hurt (after hip surgery last year). I’m trying to make it through, but these kids are amazing and make it fun.
“I didn’t think we’d win today. Reeths-Puffer has a great team and we ended up taking it. I’m happy and it’s our sixth in a row. Every one is still a surprise for me. You can see the way they run that they believe in themselves.”
In the girls’ competition, Reeths-Puffer brought along one new element – a first head coach, Sean O’Brien. But the results were the same as always, with the Rockets completing a full decade of domination.
Like the Fruitport boys, Reeths-Puffer athletes claimed titles in four events. Bridget McHugh won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and two relay teams also finished on top – the 4×400 squad (Nena Williams, Raegen Lockhart, Mackenzie Davis and Trina Lewis), and the 4X800 squad (Ari Antor, Hannah Finkler, Rebekah Sweany and Raegen Lockhart).
“We went out and competed in every single event,” said O’Brien, who spend the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with the R-P boys squad. “The girls work hard every single day in practice, the come in on Saturdays and Sundays, they are an extremely dedicated crew. They step up every time we challenge them.”
“This was a big meet for us. We wanted to take care of the city meet first, then go for conference, regionals and the state meet. These girls don’t look ahead at all, though. The next meet is the most important meet of the year.”
Several other individual athletes also had big days at the city meet. Tops among them was Mona Shores freshman Anabeth Hylland, who celebrated her very first city meet by winning three individual event titles, and being part of a championship relay team.
Her individual titles came in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 300-meter dash.
“It’s very special,” Hylland said. “It’s really exciting, especially as a freshman. Honestly I didn’t expect it. The one I really wasn’t expecting was the 400 by far, because I don’t normally run it.
“It was very exciting and very fun. I was pretty nervous. I feel like I’ve been getting better on handling my nerves since middle school, but I was pretty nervous today.”
Another multiple champion was Reeths-Puffer’s Evan Hodson, who won the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs.
GREATER MUSKEGON ATHLETIC
ASSOCIATION CITY TRACK MEET
Fruitport 114, Reeths-Puffer 90, Muskegon 82, Mona Shores 68, Whitehall 38.5, Holton 28, Montague 25.5, Oakridge 23, Ravenna 20, Western Michigan Christian 19, North Muskegon 19.
100 Meters: Tommy Watts, Muskegon 11:19
200 Meters: Jakobie Harris, Muskegon 22:89
400 Meters: Caiden Morin, Mona Shores 51.22
800 Meters: Brendan Deneen, Fruitport 2:01.31
1600 Meters: Evan Hodson, Reeths-Puffer 4:29.06
3200 Meters: Evan Hodson, Reeths-Puffer 9:51.97
110m Hurdles: Ethan Flores, Fruitport 14.75
300m Hurdles: Kolbe Lewis, Muskegon 40.97
4×100 Relay: Muskegon (Tommy Watts, Demario Robinson Jr., Cameron Martinez, Jacarri Thomas-Kitche) 44.28
4×200 Relay: Fruitport (Dakota Mitchell, Ethan Flores, Cameron Weaver, Zach Pray) 1:31.87
4×400 Relay: Mona Shores (DaVarius Carter, Ontario Wade, David McNiff, Caiden Morin) 3:34.87
4×800 Relay: Fruitport (Jon Wildey, Cameron Walker, Jaxon Deneen, Brendan Deneen) 8:15.23
Shot Put: Colt Stout, Mona Shores 45-08.00
Discus: Tyler McDonald, Mona Shores 130-09
High Jump: Ben Wyatt, Reeths-Puffer 6-04.00
Pole Vault: Calvin Schullo, Ravenna 12-00.00
Long Jump: Aaron Herron, Holton 20-04.00
Reeths-Puffer 115, Mona Shores 103, Whitehall 87, Fruitport 62, Montague 51, Muskegon 31, Western Michigan Christian 27, North Muskegon 23, Ravenna 16, Holton 7, Orchard View 2, Oakridge 1
100 Meters: Anabeth Hylland, Mona Shores 12.68
200 Meters: Anabeth Hylland, Mona Shores 27.39
400 Meters: Anabeth Hylland, Mona Shores 1:03.17
800 Meters: Ryann Jibson, Whitehall 2:29.13
1600 Meters: Ryann Jibson, Whitehall 5:28.30
3200 Meters: Abby VanderKool, Western Michigan Christian 10:46.27
100m Hurdles: Bridget McHugh, Reeths-Puffer 16.72
300m Hurdles: Bridget McHugh, Reeths-Puffer 50.13
4×100 Relay: Mona Shores (Nyasia Bernard-Gardner, Amaria Thomas, Jordyn Starr, Madison Ogel) 52.14
4×200 Relay: Muskegon (Deshonna Day, Aniyah Ford, Jakhia Mitchell, Aa’Niya Raglin) 1:51.53
4×400 Relay: Reeths-Puffer (Nena Williams, Raegen Lockhart, Mackenzie Davis, Trina Lewis) 4:21.67
4×800 Relay: Reeths-Puffer (Ari Antor, Hannah Finkler, Rebekah Sweany, Raegen Lockhart) 10:20.48
Shot Put: Kariya White, Mona Shores 35-04.50
Discus: Karleigh Jeffries, Whitehall 96-03
High Jump: Elizabeth Knoll, Mona Shores 5-06.00
Pole Vault: Bailey Pierson, Whitehall 8-00.01
Long Jump: Analiese Postema, Ravenna 16-03.00