Four local athletes place at Division 3 meet

COMSTOCK PARK — It was the hottest day of the track and field season and a rewarding one for four local athletes in the Division 3 meet at Comstock Park.

Nate Fasbender of Reed City took fifth in the pole vault while Pine River’s Devyn Powell was fifth in the 400 meters, Michelle Kelsey eighth in the high jump and Ben Rigling eighth in the 800 run.

Fasbender vaulted 13-3. The winning vault was 13-9.

“My performance wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be,” Fasbender said. “My warmups were really good. In competition, when we got to 13-9, I barely brushed off three times.”

Fasbender got a medal but was hoping to go higher.

“But I had a good time,” he said.

Coming into the meet, Fasbender was optimistic.

Reed City also had Andre’ Jones in the 200 while the 400 and 800 relay teams also competed. Fasbender was a part of the 4x1 relay team.

“The season’s been going OK,” he said going into the state finals. “I haven’t had a really great day jumping yet.”

Fasbender  had cleared 14 feet twice during the season and was hoping for 14-6. He smiled while admitting he was already nervous going into the meet.

Warm weather would be a plus, although it turned out to be the hottest day of the year.

Fasbender was hoping for a medal in the relay.

“We were ranked eighth in the state,” he said.

“We did pretty good,” said Reed City coach Brent Michell. “Our relay teams both ran personal records. Nate had a chance to make 13-9. He just barely grazed it all three attempts.”

The Coyotes also had Hanna Price in the 100-meter hurdles.

“Hanna ran one of her top five times in the 100 hurdles,” Michell said. “It wasn’t fast enough today.”

Powell, a senior, had finished first and third in previous state finals in the 400.

Her fifth-place time Saturday was 58.48.

“I had my best performance of the year (Saturday), so I couldn’t be any happier,” Powell said. “I definitely know I left it all on the track. I’m proud to say that was my final race of my senior year. I went in hoping to do better. But the girls that beat me had better times, a better race and I couldn’t be prouder of them. They were great competitors.”

Powell was also on the 400 and 800-meter relay teams that didn’t place.

“I’m proud of our relays,” Powell said. “We came to state and were all here ready to run. I think we PRed in the 4x1. I’m proud. We all ran our hardest. That’s all you can ask for.”

“It’s her fourth all-state performance,” said Pine River coach Jan Burch. “This was the first time she ran more than just the 400 at the meet. She was in three events. It was warmer than anybody had seen all year.”

Kelsey, a senior, cleared 5 feet in the high jump.

“I feel excellent about it,” she said. “I was looking for a 5-2 jump, but 5 foot works and I cleared it on my first attempt. I’m happy. It’s a nice way to go out.”

She cleared 5 feet before. It’s the first time Kelsey has placed at the state meet.

Kelsey said she’ll miss running.

“Overall, I’m not going to miss the heat or the winter,” she smiled.

“She had a good day too,” Burch said. “Even those that weren’t medalists had good days too. They moved up in where they were seeded. It wasn’t rain, it wasn’t snow, it wasn’t wind. Today it was heat. Mother Nature has taken its toll all season.”

For the girls, Mary Ware was also in the shot put and discus. 

Also for the Pine River boys, Ethan Crawford was in the 110-meter hurdles and Cole Gingrich in the 100-meter dash.

Rigling’s eighth-place time was 1:59.82. He’s a junior and it’s his first time he’s placed at state.

“I’m happy I finally did it,” Rigling, who was running in the 800 open for the first time at state, said. “It was probably the best I could have done. I pushed myself as hard as I could.”

Rigling broke the nearly 30-year-old school record with his effort.

“I ran a pretty good first lap,” he said. “I just wanted to hold it and I did.”

“His goal was to break the record at state by placing or set a new school record and he did both as a junior,” said Pine River coach Eric Gebhard. “I was really impressed with his performance, especially with the heat factor.”

Morley Stanwood had two qualifiers, Andrew Sackett in the 400 and Ataya Kailing in the discus. Neither one placed.