2011 a memorable year for track
Osceola County’s high school track programs enjoyed unique seasons which recently came to a close in the state finals.
Sami Michell gained plenty of attention for winning the state title in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the long jump. She was second in the 200-meter dash.
“Sami just had amazing feats with three firsts and two records (in both hurdles),” said her mother and coach Vikki Michell. “She had terrible shin splints early in the season. For her to come around and be healthy enough and compete in the big one was very cool.”
Kristin Forman qualified for the state finals her third consecutive year in the 800.
“She just missed the school record but she had her best times toward the end of the season,” Michell said. “She was disappointed and happy, I’m sure.
“Overall, we had a lot of young kids and they improved. We’re looking forward to seeing what they’ll do next year. We’re low in numbers, It’s hard to win those duals. We did well at the big meets. We just need more girls next year. These girls work hard and they’re trying to improve.”
Sami Michell’s brother Brian, took second place in the pole vault at 15-9 finishing second to his rival, Isaac Austin of Kent City, who cleared 16-0 for a new meet record.
“Brian had a tremendous end of the season,” said his dad and coach Brent Michell. “We finally got some warm weather. He was jumping like we knew he was capable of.”
Joe Oehrli was third in the 800-meter run in 1:55.85.
“Joe Oehrli just ran unbelievable at the state finals (in the 800),” Brent Michell said. “He came from a 10th seed to a third-place finish. I was impressed with his effort and how well he worked.
“As a team, I’m impressed with how they gathered around our mile relay team that qualified for the state finals. They (Michael and Eric Bradford, Joe Oehrli and Eric Reed) just ran harder and better every time they ran. They took pride in themselves and pride in their team. They just ran really hard.”
All four return next season.
“They want to break the school record and they want a medal at the state finals,” Michell said. “In fact, I hear them talk about winning it and that’s kind of cool.”
Also in the state girls meet, Devyn Powell of Pine River was fourth in 59.03 in the 400-meter dash. Her teammate, Haley Russell, took a pair of seventh places by throwing the discus 116-0 and the shot 37-0.
“We had Ross Raymond set our school record (53-4) this year in the shot put,” said Eric Gebhard, boys coach. “He went to state. Abel Langworthy went 13-6 in the pole vault and went to state. Those individuals had big performances for us this year.
“We had a good group of seniors that are leaving. We won the Manton Invitational which was a big one for us.”
Pine River had about 40 roster members.
For the girls, Dick Dietrick was the new head coach.
“We had a real young team this year,” he said. “We had a good sprint crew and a lot of good performances from them especially in our relays. We did consistently well in hurdles and pole vaulting. Haley Russell in the shot and discus, she was no surprise, but we had other girls come on late in the season, especially in the shot like Sheena Vokes.
“Devyn Powell had some injuries, but getting down to 57 in the 400, for a freshman, was phenomenal. We’re losing three seniors. I think we’re getting 15 to 18 incoming freshman. We should be a competitive team. We did well this year. Next year, we can expect even some bigger things.”
“At first, I just wanted to increase my numbers, have more kids come out and just have fun,” said Evart’s new girls coach Rene Ward. “However, as the season went on, we started winning more and we had quite a good relay team and two girls that really stood out.”
One was Jessica Tea, who went 5-3 in the high jump.
“She was close to breaking the school record, but she’ll do that next year,” Ward said. “I had a girl, Kaitlynn Vanmorick, whom I assumed was a distance runner. I decided to put her in sprints and 400. She was doing around a minute in the 400. She was the type of athlete I could put her in the sprints or distances and she’d be first or second, no matter what.
At the state finals, Tea was fourth in the high jump.
“I only had two seniors,” Ward said. “I had 28 girls this year. Next year, we should some eighth graders coming up so I should have even more.”
For the boys, David Zinger was fifth in the 3,200-meter run in 9:53.07 and sixth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:27.93.
The 3,200-meter relay team of Antonio Militelo, Logan Hammer, Jesse Lang and David Zinger clocked an 8:16, a new school record at regionals.
“They all broke their personal times by four or five seconds,” said Evart coach Jim Crawford. “It was outstanding, something you had to see. It was unreal. Antonio set the base when he went out broke his personal best and the whole team took that on.”
Zinger in the 1,600-meter run set the school record at 4:27.9 and was first-team all-conference in the 1,600-meter and 3,200 meter open.