CGA trumps Plymouth for Rochester title
ROCHESTER — For about as long as Culver Academies track coach Michael Chastain can remember, his Lady Eagles have been battling it out with Plymouth for the championship at the Rochester Sectional. In fact, the two teams have been trading back and forth for first and second at the state tourney opener for the past four years.
True to that back-and-forth theme, Culver Girls Academy topped Plymouth at Tuesday’s sectional meet, returning the favor for Plymouth’s one-point title win over the Eagles last year by trumping the Lady Pilgrims 137-123 for this year’s championship.
“It’s been Plymouth and us one and two I think since I took over the head girls job,” said Chastain. “The girls did a nice job. In different events we didn’t look as crisp as we needed to, but we had some people come along.
“It did take a team effort. It’s going to be a different ballpark next week, so I’m just happy for the girls.”
“Coming in I think we were seeded to be second, and we ended up being second. The only thing I told the girls is ‘You need to make them earn it,’ and I think they earned it,” said Plymouth coach Paul Patrick.
“Our kids did well, but unfortunately we were the second best team here, and we finished second. Congratulations to CGA and to Mike and his staff and his kids. They ran super, and they deserved to win.”
With CGA leading the Pilgrims by a narrow 117-115 margin with just two events left to be scored, Tuesday’s championship came down to a dramatic win by the Eagles in the 1600-meter relay — where CGA’s Motunrayo Adenuga, Hannah Buggeln, Amber Cowell and Laura Ma beat out Plymouth’s Sammi Davis, Alex Drummond, Meagan Fisher and Megan Maxwell by a little over three seconds in a school-record time of 4:10.39 — and thrower Leah Heckaman’s second individual sectional championship of the night, a sectional record-setting 42”2.5” shot put following the junior’s winning discus mark of 132’05”.
Heckaman — a two-time state qualifier in the discus and last year’s Warsaw Regional runner-up in the shot put — outdistanced the field by nearly eight feet in the shot put Tuesday, and her winning throw in the discus was more than 28 feet beyond of her closest competitor.
“She made it to state her freshman year and then again last year and didn’t end up the season quite the way that she’d hoped, but she’s been a lot more consistent this year,” said Chastain. “She’s still improving all the time, and she still has yet to do what we see her doing occasionally in meets. We’re looking forward to her really getting out there in the shot and the disc soon.”
Along with Heckaman’s standout performances in the weight events and the Eagles’ winning 1600 relay, CGA celebrated a third individual championship in Cowell’s win in the 300-meter hurdles. Cowell also earned runner-up honors in the 100 hurdles, while Ma fished second in the 200-meter dash behind Culver Community’s Denisha Brown, and Anna Tompos finished second in the high jump. All total, CGA earned 15 top-four individual and relay berths to next Tuesday’s Warsaw Regional at Rochester.
While Plymouth was unseated by CGA in the final team standings, plenty of Pilgrims survived to the regional round of the state tournament, and the team claimed titles in four different events as a consolation prize.
Wright gave the Pilgrims their first individual title of the night with a blistering 59.54 in the 400 after finishing her freshman season at the state meet in the event last year, while Meagan Fisher followed up with an 800-meter championship time of 2:27.4. Fisher’s 800 win came followed up an earlier 4x800 championship by the Pilgrims in which the senior combined with Drummond, Deborah Anders and Shelby Harrell for a winning time of 10:16.18, almost half a minute better than CGA’s second-place team of Hannah Buggeln, Skylar Gross, Sarah Jamieson and Erin Lopez-Vine.
Cassie Quissell was better than a foot better than her seed height in the pole vault to top the field there with a 9’6” clearance in Plymouth’s sole championship in the field events at Rochester.
“The events that we think we can do well in at the regional are the 400, the 800 and the 4 by 8,” Patrick said. “The 4 by 8’s the only thing I worry about because we need to be in the fast heat next week, and that’s based on seed time. I know Allie will be in the fast heat with a sub 60, and Meagan, the 800 is all one heat.”
While CGA and Plymouth fought it out for the team title well ahead of the rest of the nine-team field, Class A schools Culver Community and Triton both saw some strong individual performances Tuesday en route to respective sixth- and seventh-place team finishes.
Chief among these was Lady Cavs junior Denisha Brown’s dual championship performance in the 100 and 200 with times of 12.69 and 26.77. She also cleared 16”9.75” for second in the long jump behind Rochester’s monster leap of 17’6”, and the Culver junior combined with Justine Dexter, Alicia Large and Trista Littleton for third-place honors and the right to advance in the 4x100.
“She wasn’t really stressed today; she won both races pretty handily,” said Culver Community girls track coach Michael Buschman. “This is really the best that she’s looked.”
“I think she’s in a very similar situation to where she was last year,” he continued. “If she runs her best times and falls in the right spot (at regional), she could qualify (for state). Long jump-wise, she’s not maxed out her potential. She jumped a 16’3” at the Churubusco Invitational when she was six inches behind the board, so she’s got super potential in the long jump, probably even more so than her running events. It really depends on how practice comes together and how the chips fall.”
Brown was one half of a strong sister act that also included Mickella Hardy’s third-place finish in the shot put, and fellow Lady Cavs thrower Donna Zehner advanced in the discus with a third-place result there.
Triton didn’t tally any championships Tuesday, but the Lady Trojans still earned regional qualifications in five different events.
Senior Breanna Lemler clocked a 1:01.45 behind Wright in the 400 meters for a second-place finish there after falling a heartbreaking .09 of a second short of advancing in the 200 meters, and Triton’s 4x800 squad of Shana Anderson, Kayleigh Craig, Alexandra Kann and Alexis Miller finished fourth in their event to advance to the Warsaw meet next week. But the Trojans got their best all-around performance from a freshman as Jaela Meister earned three regional berths with a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles, a third-place finish in the 300 hurdles and a fourth-place result in the pole vault, although she scratched in the vault.
“Breanna Lemler, she works hard, she leads our team and cheers the kids on. She’s a senior and she’s going to be greatly missed next year,” said Triton coach Shelby Feldman. “Lexi Miller made a huge difference in that 3200-meter relay, and she’s a freshman; she’s done a really nice job this year… Meister is also a freshman, and she got out in three events as a freshman coming in.
“The kids do a good job; I can’t complain. I tell them on meets like this you’ve got to go for PRs, and they do. They do a real nice job and work hard at it.”
• ROCHESTER SECTIONAL
(TOP FOUR IN EACH EVENT ADVANCE TO WARSAW REGIONAL, TUESDAY, MAY 21)
TEAM SCORES: 1. CULVER GIRLS ACADEMY 137, 2. PLYMOUTH 123, 3. TIPPECANOE VALLEY 82, 4. MANCHESTER 72, 5. ROCHESTER 65.5, 6. CULVER COMMUNITY 52, 7. TRITON 44, 8. NORTHFIELD 41.5, 9. NORTH MIAMI 7.
3200 relay: 1. Plymouth (Deborah Anders, Alex Drummond, Meagan Fisher, Shelby Harrell) 10:16.18, 2. CGA 10:34.36, 3. Northfield 10:47.25, 4. Triton 11:01.47, 6. Culver 11:33.30; 100 hurdles: 1. Bekah Brunn (Manchester) 16.41, 2. Amber Cowell (CGA) 16.98, 3. Jaela Meister (Triton) 17.08, 4. Katelyn O’Neal (Plymouth) 17.45, 5. Sammi Davis (Plymouth) 17.52; 100: 1. Denisha Brown (Culver) 12.69, 2. Caylie Teel (TV) 12.99, 3. Megan Maxwell (Plymouth) 13.36, 4. Motunrayo Adenuga (CGA) 13.46, 5. Dalton Tuggle (CGA) 13.48; 1600: 1. Anna Meyer (Rochester) 5:32.91, 2. Sammy Ruppert (Rochester) 5:38.83, 3. Karla Singer (Northfield) 5:39.77, 4. Olivia Martinez (CGA) 5:43.85, 5. Libbie Read (Plymouth) 5:50.34, 6. Abby Patrick (Plymouth) 5:54.23; 400 relay: 1. Tippecanoe Valley (Jazzmine Brown, Alexis O’Connell, Teel, Karis Tucker) 52.36, 2. Manchester 53.16, 3. Culver 54.60, 4. Plymouth 54.69; 400: 1. Allie Wright (Plymouth) 59.54, 2. Breanna Lemler (Triton) 1:01.45, 3. Brown (TV) 1:02.68, 4. Miriam Ramirez (CGA) 1:03.08, 5. Drummond (Plymouth) 1:06.35, 6. Olivia Sever (CGA) 1:06.51; 300 hurdles: 1. Cowell (CGA) 48.93, 2. Elena Schnieders (Manchester) 49.36, 3. Catherine Leadford (TV) 50.33, 4. Meister (Triton) 50.46, 6. Davis (Plymouth) 51.60; 800: 1. Fisher (Plymouth) 2:27.40, 2. Kelsi Custer (Manchester) 2:30.33, 3. Read (Plymouth) 2:31.57, 4. Kennedy Thompson (CGA) 2:32.97, 6. Shana Anderson (Triton) 2:39.88; 200: 1. Denisha Brown (Culver) 26.77, 2. Laura Ma (CGA) 27.45, 3. Nye Lynch-Matlack (CGA) 27.58, 4. Wright (Plymouth) 27.65, 5. Lemler (Triton) 27.74; 3200: 1. Meyer (Rochester) 11:35.94, 2. Jenna Halderman (Northfield) 11:52.63, 3. Sarah Burch (Rochester) 12:23.77, 4. Hannah Buggeln (CGA) 12:39.80, 5. Martinez (CGA) 12:57.31, 6. Harrell (Plymouth) 13:15.86; 1600 relay: 1. CGA (Adenuga, Buggeln, Cowell, Ma) 4:10.39, 2. Plymouth 4:13.62, 3. Manchester 4:18.63, 4. Tippecanoe Valley 4:19.03; Long jump: 1. Katlyn Sawyer (Rochester) 17-6, 2. Brown (Culver) 16-9 3/4, 3. Teel (TV) 16-0, 4. Kaydon Fosler (Plymouth) 15-0, 5. Anna Tompos (CGA) 14-10 1/4, 6. Adenuga (CGA) 14-9 3/4; High jump: 1. Lindsey Dierks (Manchester) 5-2, 2. Tompos (CGA) 5-0, 3. Fosler (Plymouth) 5-0, 4. Brown (TV) 5-0, 5. Fisher (Plymouth) 5-0, 6. Alexandra Vaughn (CGA) 4-10; Shot put: 1. Leah Heckaman (CGA) 42-2 1/2, 2. Shauna Ellinger (Rochester) 34-9, 3. Mickella Hardy (Culver) 34-4, 4. Niki Frieden (Manchester) 34-2 3/4; Discus: 1. Heckaman (CGA) 132-5, 2. Hailee Hunsberger (TV) 104-4, 3. Donna Zehner (Culver) 103-9, 4. Fraser (TV) 99-8, 5. Becca Kennedy (Triton) 97-6; Pole vault: 1. Cassie Quissell (Plymouth) 9-6, 2. Jordan Sheetz (Rochester) 9-0, 3. Chenyu Zhu (CGA) 7-6, 4. Meister (Triton) 7-6, 5. Traci Longanecker (Plymouth) 7-0.