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Preview: Returning champions line up again for the LP Girls Track & Field Finals
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Preview: Returning champions line up again for the LP Girls Track & Field Finals

The strength programs that led the way at the 2023 Lower Peninsula Girls Track & Field Finals could be the teams chasing again this weekend at the Grand Rapids area meets.

Buckley in Division 4 and Hart in Division 3 provide significant point scorers after last year’s respective title runs, and Oak Park and Detroit Renaissance again look like strong pacesetters in Division 1.

Division 2 may be the most hotly contested game of the day in the Lower Peninsula, but two-time reigning champion East Grand Rapids is impossible to count out.

All four LP finals begin at 9 a.m. with pole vault and long jump, followed by the race semifinals and 3,200 relay at 10 a.m. and the remainder of the running finals begin at noon. Tickets cost $11 and are only available digitally at GoFan.

MHSAA.tv will stream all four meetings live from 10 a.m., available for viewing with a subscription. look at the Athletics for girls page for competition information for all four locations and lists of all qualifiers. Those described as “seeded” below received those seeds based on regional performance.

Below is an overview of the team candidates and individuals you can watch in all four divisions:

LP Division 1 in East Kentwood

Team prediction: Either Oak Park or Detroit Renaissance have won the last five LPD1 team titles, with the other finishing second the last four seasons (not including the COVID-canceled 2020). A year ago, Oak Park was first and Renaissance was second, and the Knights have first or second seeds (or both) in five individual races and three relays this weekend. Renaissance has similar candidates in three individual races and three relays. Holland West Ottawa is seeking its first team championship and will need some mid-seeded entries to climb, but Helen Sachs is seeded first in both distance races and as part of the top-seeded 3,200 relay.

Brooke Bowers, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior – The reigning pole vault champion is top-seeded in that event at 13-0, eight inches higher than her winning height in the Finals a year ago, and she will also compete in the fifth-seeded 400 relay.

Milena Chevallier, Farmington Hills Mercy senior – She set the LPD1 Finals record last year at 1.80 meters and was just a quarter of an inch away from equaling the all-time highest height in the final. She will also jump.

Jayla Dace, Detroit Renaissance junior – She placed first in the 100, third in the 200 and ran on two winning relays in 2023, and returns this weekend as the top seed in the 100 (12.05), one of several contenders in the 200 and runs in the top seed 400 relay (47.19) and second-seeded 800 relay (1:40.41).

Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer senior – The fastest champion in Michigan girls cross country history is looking to add to her 800 and 1,600 titles from last season and 3,200 relay titles from last year and into 2021. She is seeded first in the 800 (2:11.26), second in the 1,600 (4:54.92) and 3,200 (10:35.05) and listed as likely to run in the second-seeded 3,200 relay (9:09.35).

Keyanna O’Tey, Sturgis junior – She won the 100 and 200 in the LPD2 last season, the 100 in a time that would have also won the LPD1, and this weekend she is seeded top in the division in the 200 (24.77) and seeded second in the 100 (12.10). ) while it will also run on both sprint relays.

Morgan Roundtree, Oak Park senior – The 2022 300 hurdles champion finished second in that race and third in the 100 hurdles last season, but is seeded first in the latter (14.08), second in the 300 (43.12) and will compete in the top-seeded 800 relay (1:38.37) and second-seeded 400 relay (47.95).

Abigail Russell, Allen Park senior – She has won the discus the past two seasons and also won the shot put as a sophomore, and this weekend she enters as the top seed at 151-10 and 47-3½, respectively.

Kamryn Tatum, West Bloomfield sophomore – She made her finals debut by winning the 200 and 400, and she will run both again, plus in the 400 and 800 relays.

LP Division 2 at Hamilton

Team prediction: East Grand Rapids has won the last two LPD2 Finals championships, followed last season by Sturgis, which competes this weekend in Division 1. The Pioneers’ strength is in the distance races, and they have options again. But a few teams that are strong in the sprints could lead the way this time. Seeking its first team championship, Romulus Summit Academy has the top-seeded 400 and 800 relays and contenders in the individual 100 and 200. Dearborn Divine Child last won a final in 2013 and has potential scorers in at least five individual races, plus the highest-seeded 1,600 relay and two more seeded fourth or higher. Petosky is another to watch with competitors all over the match.

Janae Hudson, Marysville senior – The reigning shot put champion and fourth-place finisher in the discus is tops in the discus throw (146-10) by nearly nine feet and placed second in the shot (43-3) with a throw six inches further than last year’s winner.

Kaitlyn Molnar, Grosse Ile senior – Last season’s long jump champion won regional titles and 300 hurdles in that event.

East Grand Rapids senior Drew Muller – She has won the 1,600 the past two seasons and was the 2022 LPD2 cross country champion, and will run the 1,600 and 800 this weekend as well as two top-five seeded relays.

Allison Shelton, Ortonville Brandon senior – Last season’s 12-foot pole vault champion is one of three entering this meet after winning their Regionals 11-3, along with Cadillac’s Madisyn Lundquist and Plainwell’s Ava Collier.

Natalie VanOtteren, Grand Rapids Christian senior – The 2023 winner in the 3,200 and fifth place in the 1,600 will both run and as part of the 3,200 relay.

LP Division 3 in Kent City

Team prediction: Even with last season’s winner Jessica Jazwinski out of the lineup this weekend, two-time reigning champion Hart could once again be the team’s favorite. Contenders in two sprints and the two distance races plus the top-seeded 400 relay (50.51) and possible scorers in three field events should keep the Pirates in the mix. Jackson Lumen Christi placed fifth last season and is looking for a first team title, and has the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:09.36) and 3,200 relay (9:33.68) plus the favorite in the 800 among possible scorers throughout the distance portion of the meeting. Traverse City St. Francis is seeking its first team title since 2013 and has competitors all over the meet to bolster the top-seeded 800 relay (1:47.11).

Addison Hovey, Hart junior – She won the high jump and finished third in the 100 last year, and could put up many more points this time as the top seed in the 100 (12.4) and 200 (25.51) and as part of the top-seeded 400 relay ( 50.51) as well as once again a strong contender in her field event.

Destiny McDaniels, Bath junior – She wants to follow up on last year’s victory in the 100 hurdles and third place in the long jump, and is one of the seven seeded participants in both competitions.

Madison Osterberg, Jackson Lumen Christi senior – The reigning 1,600 champion also finished second in the 800 and fifth in the 3,200 last season, and ran in second place in the 3,200 relay. She will play a big role in any Titans team title chase as the top seed in the 800 (2:13.20), second seed in the 1,600 (5:02.97) and on the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:09.36). and 3,200 relay (9:33.68).

Emily Peters, second year Olivet – She won the 300 hurdles and was part of the winning 1,600 relay as a freshman, also finishing seventh in the 100 hurdles. This weekend she will line up as the top seed in the 300 (46.10), another potential alternate in the 100 hurdles and running on two top-six seeded relays.

Emmry Ross, Onsted junior – Her 400 and 800 wins last year earned 20 of Onsted’s 24 eighth-place points, and as the team’s only qualifier this spring, she was able to make a solo run at an even higher team finish with the top seed in the 400 (56, 62) and 1,600 (4:58.73), second seed in the 800 (2:13.79) and ninth seed in the 3,200.

LP Division 4 in Hudsonville Baldwin

Team prediction: Reigning champion Buckley won with 52 points last season, and the two runners who combined to score 41 of those are back for the repeat chase. Portland St. Patrick trailed by just three points and has three top-four seeded relays and four individual racer entries seeded fourth or higher. Fowler finished fourth last season and is perhaps the strongest all-around hopeful with contenders in every race and relay plus two field events. Hillsdale Academy will look to move up from fifth place last season with plenty of strength in the distance races with all four relays seeded fourth or higher.

Molly Brown, Addison junior – Last season’s champion in the 100 hurdles and second in the 100 sprint and 300 hurdles is the top seed in the 100 hurdles (14.86) and the 100 sprint (12.6) and third seed in the 200 (26.39). ) and 300 hurdles (47.04). .

Aiden Harrand, Buckley senior – She has won a total of six track and two cross-country championships, including the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 last spring. She is this weekend’s top seed in the 400 (59.10) and second in the 800 (2:21.37) and 1,600 (5:09.42), the latter of which she will look to win for the fourth time.

Olivia Findlay, Marlette senior – The reigning 5-4 high jump title winner jumped it at the Regional to receive the top seed this weekend and was also able to compete in the long jump and 100 hurdles.

Brooklyn Frazee, sophomore Buckley – She won the 100, was second in the 200 and sixth in the 400 as a freshman, and returns this weekend as the second seed in the 100 (12.67), fourth seed in the 200 and will again run the 400 and compete in the long jump, unless she participates in one or more qualifying relays.

Rebecca Moeller, Deckerville junior – She won the pole vault 10-6 last season and is one of four to win their Regionals 10-0, tying for the top seed this time around. She will also run both hurdle races and the 200.

Rylee Scheurer, Portland St. Patrick senior – The reigning champion in the 200 and third-seeded in the 100 is top-seeded in the 200 (26.11), seeded third in the 100 (12.74) and part of the top-seeded 800 relay (1:46.75) and third-seeded 400 relay ( 51.58).

PHOTO Oak Park’s Kelis Hunter-Young begins her leg of the 1,600 relay at last season’s LP Division 1 Finals. (Photo by Carter Sherline/RunMichigan.com.)