FELCH - The Forest Park and Bark River-Harris girls waged an all-afternoon see-saw battle for the Skyline Conference track title Friday.
When all was said and done, it was Forest Park which prevailed for the fourth consecutive year with 113 points. The Broncos finished with 107 and third-place North Dickinson had 88.
"We just kept going back and forth," said Forest Park coach Chandra Ziegler. "I usually don't keep track of points during a meet, but I was doing it today. The girls run with a lot of heart and that's why it's so much fun to coach them. We're coming together and peaking at the right time."
North Central’s MaCaela Arnold (wearing a headband) leads the girls 100 dash during Friday’s Skyline Conference track and field championships. Trailing from left to right are Bark River-Harris’ Kortney Jenshak, Forest Park’s Ana Cornelia, North Dickinson’s Deborah Starnes and Bark River-Harris’ Alex Parrotta. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Theresa Peterson)
BR-H and Forest Park were tied with 103 points heading into the final event, the1600-meter relay. The Trojans won that race, followed by Carney-Nadeau, Rapid River and BR-H.
"When we heard they (BR-H) were in second place, we were jumping up and down for joy," said Forest Park senior Audrey Sholander, who will be attending Central Michigan University this fall. "Winning the (Division 3) regionals in Lake Linden was also a great accomplishment. Everyone's spirits are up right now. We're really looking forward to the U.P. Finals (June 2 at Kingsford), although we know Superior Central and Brimley will be big competition."
Sholander, who helped the Trojans win the 1600 relay, also won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.66 seconds and 300s (50.63). North Dickinson senior Heather Roell was runner-up in both races.
"The 100 hurdles are always close with Heather," said Sholander. "She pushes me, which I think helped me today. We really enjoy running against each other. We're always giving each other high fives after each race, and it's good to see that."
BR-H collected three firsts, including its 800 relay. Junior Sydni Petrie won discus at 112 feet, nine inches and Alex Parrotta copped high jump (5-0).
"The girls' meet went about the way I expected," said BR-H coach Al Bellefeuille. "We knew Forest Park was the one to watch. They were getting points all over. Our girls gave an excellent effort. This is the best we could do today."
North Dickinson sophomore Deborah Starnes won pole vault with a school-record 9-7 1/2, topping her previous best (9-1) from Tuesday.
"I'm getting better at lifting my feet and getting over the bar," said Starnes, who nicked the bar on her way down during her final attempt at 10 feet. "I think going 9-1 on Tuesday gave me a big boost coming into today. I'm hoping to clear 10 feet at the Finals. I just have to keep practicing."
North Central senior Taylor Granquist tuned up for her final trip to the Finals by winning the 800 (2:42.91) and 1600 (6:09.84).
"I'm pleased with my times because it was a little windy here today," said Granquist, who will attend Northern Michigan University. "I've been running these times without the wind. This is a big boost going into the Finals. I think running with Brittany Richard (of Big Bay de Noc) and Lauren Spranger (of Superior Central) helped me tremendously. They're such great girls and runners. I'm real happy with the way my season has gone."