Plymouth track competes at NLCs

WARSAW — If ever anyone had an excuse to just sort of coast through their senior track season, it would be Plymouth’s Dan Samuelson.
As a DI University of Michigan recruit in his primary sport of football, Samuelson is already one of the Rockies’ most accomplished athletes. And the Wolverines’ workouts give him plenty to do besides.
Rather than resting on his laurels, however, Samuelson has been one of Plymouth track’s most consistent points-scorers in the field. And on Tuesday he continued to produce for the Pilgrims, earning his school its lone Northern Lakes Conference championship with a winning throw of 143’10” in the discus.
Warsaw dominated both boys and girls meets with dual championships on its home track, while Plymouth’s boys finished seventh a point ahead of NorthWood with 53 points, and the Lady Pilgrims placed fifth with a score of 70.
Samuelson was personally responsible for 18 of his team’s 52 points with PHS’ only NLC championship in the discus as well as a runner-up shot put of 51’7.25”.
“I’m just proud of Dan,” said Plymouth boys track coach John Barron. “I’ve been at it 20-plus years, and I’ve seen a lot of athletes come and go, and for a kid to achieve what he’s done in football as one of the highest recruits Plymouth football has ever seen, to fulfill his commitment as a track athlete where he really didn’t have to, I’m just really proud of him. He’s a kid I could talk about for as long as I coach.”
While Samuelson earned his school its only conference title, Lady Pilgrims sprinter Allie Wright earned At-Large NLC honors for her turn as runner-up in two events and a third-place finisher in another.
Wright opened the finals with a second-place finish in the 3200 relay along with teammates Meagan Fisher, Libby Read and Abby Patrick, where the foursome cut 20 seconds off their previous best to finish in 9:40.42. Exhausted at the end of the open 400, the Plymouth sophomore fell across the line just .12 of a second behind Warsaw champion Tennie Worrell’s winning time of 59.47 for Wright’s first-ever NLC defeat so far in the event. She rejoined Fisher in the 4x400 to close out the night with a third-place result in the 4x400 alongside Megan Maxwell and Alex Drummond.
“I think Allie went out a little quick (in the 400) through the 200 split, but she PR’d in the race, so she’s getting stronger,” said Plymouth girls track coach Paul Patrick. “She got beat and that’s unfortunate, but that happens.”
While Wright was named At-Large All-Conference for the Lady Pilgrims, Fisher’s performances didn’t go entirely unnoticed Tuesday.
Along with her second and third-place turns in the 3200 and 1600 relay, Fisher finished second in the 800 with a 2:20.18 behind Elkhart Memorial runner Sierra Moore’s 2:23.06, and she was awarded an All-NLC Honorable Mention for her efforts.
Plymouth jumper Kaydon Fosler was also named to the conference’s Honorable Mention list for her runner-up jump of 5’02” in the high jump, which complemented a seventh-place turn in the long jump.
“Meagan ran awesome (in the 800). She ran 2:20, and she hadn’t broken 2:28 in the open 800 all year,” said Patrick. “Now she’s run some fast relay legs, but she ran a super 800 at the Goshen Relays (last weekend), she led off the 3200 relay with a 2:21 and then ran a 2:20 in the open 800. The only time she’s broken 2:20 in the 800 has been the last two years at the regional meet. So she’s two weeks ahead of that, and I think that’ll be a great confidence boost for her.
“Kaydon was seeded first in the high jump, she got second. She’s struggling a little bit with her approach. She’s a great jumper, she just needs to get her approach down, and she’ll come back and she’ll be fine.”
Plymouth’s didn’t receive any at-large or honorable mention All-NLC nods, but the Pilgrims did see two other standout performances at Warsaw.
Senior Adam Lacefield recorded a 136’02” toss in the discus for third place behind Samuelson in the event — as Plymouth’s boys scored nearly half their points in the weight events — while junior Michael Hartman placed second in the open 400 with a time of 50.93 behind Memorial sprinter McNeal Stewart’s 50.32. Hartman also finished sixth in the 200 after making the finals cut in that event.
“It wasn’t a great night for Adam, but he hung in there and got us some points; we didn’t score a whole lot tonight,” said Barron. “Michael Hartman, I’m just so happy for him. He ran his best race and almost broke 50 seconds in the 400. He lost to a really good kid. He was second in the 400 and placed sixth in the 200.
“Those guys’ performances tonight really stand out in my mind.”
With Tuesday’s NLC meet out of the way, Plymouth’s track teams now ready themselves for next week’s IHSAA sectionals. The Lady Pilgrims travel to the 10-team Rochester Sectional on Tuesday alongside Culver Girls Academy, Culver Community and Triton, while the Pilgrims play host to their own 10-team field on Thursday night.
“We’re improving. I think our girls needed to see that because they’re working and working and working, and they’re not seeing their times drop and they’re starting to question what they’re doing,” said Patrick. “I think (their second-place finish at the Goshen Relays) Saturday got them thinking positively, and tonight they’re going to walk out of here — even though they didn’t get any firsts — they’re going to walk out of here thinking we’re ready to go for sectional.”
“I’ve said we are who we are. I don’t think we had any really bad performances tonight; our conference is just very, very talented. That’s pretty much where we figured we would be,” said Barron.
“Now It’s all geared toward trying to win our sectional. Our kids are lucky that we don’t get chewed up in our sectional with a ton of NLC schools. I know we’ve got some teams coming in that love to compete against Plymouth and would love to beat Plymouth in their sectional… We host it, it’s our meet, and we expect to do well and try to win it.”

Team scores: 1. Warsaw 202, 2. Northridge 128, 3. Elkhart Memorial 112.5, 4. Concord 94, 5. Plymouth 70, 6. Goshen 46.5, 7. Wawasee 41, 8. NorthWood 37.
4x800 relay: 1. Northridge (Mandy Campbell, Olivia Golden, Mackenzie Gray, Corinne Comnator) 9:30.72, 2. Plymouth (Meagan Fisher, Libby Read, Abby Patrick, Allie Wright) 9:40.42, 3. Elkhart Memorial 9:54.87; 100 hurdles: 1. Jessica O’Connell (C) 15.49, 2. Jackie Ferguson (War) 16.28, 3. Brittney Rhodes (War) 16.5; 100: 1. Ann Harvuot (War) 12.51, 2. Mariah Harter (War) 12.92, 3. Mariah DeFreese (C) 12.95; 1600: 1. Sarah Ray (War) 5:06.76, 2. Sierra Moore (EM) 5:13.31, 3. Olivia Golden (NR) 5:16.56; 4x100: Warsaw (Mariah Harter, Samantha Alexander, Brittney Rhodes, Harvuot) 49.85, 2. Concord 50.98, 3. Memorial 51.16; 400: 1. Tennie Worrell (War) 59.47, 2. Allie Wright (P) 59.59, 3. Megan Kratzsch (War) 1:01.52; 300 hurdles: 1. O’Connell (C) 45.36, 2. Ferguson (War) 47.98, 3. Nicole Eckert (War) 48.68; 800: 1. Moore (EM) 2:17.88, 2. Meagan Fisher (P) 2:20.18, 3. Hannah Dawson (War) 2:21.24; 200: 1. Harvuot (War) 25.93, 2. DeFreese (C) 26.38, 3. Cianna Bonfiglio (C) 27.24; 3200: 1. Ray (War) 11:01.66, 2. Morgan Blyly (NR) 11:28.21, 3. Jennifer Schrock (NR) 11:34.63; 4x400: 1. Warsaw (Eckert, Kratzsch, Ferguson, Worrell) 4:03.94, 2. Concord 4:07.73, 3. Plymouth (Fisher, Megan Maxwell, Alex Drummond, Wright) 4:12.09; High jump: 1. Jamie Lacheta (War) 5’03”, 2. Kaydon Fosler (P) 5’02”, 3. Michelle Detwiler (C) 5’01”; Long jump: 1. Stephanie Bettis (EM) 16’4”, 2. Samantha Alexander (War) 16’2”, 3. Christian Juroff (NR) 15’2.5”; Discus: 1. Samantha Jensen (War) 119’11”, 2. Deanna Cornelius (EM) 111’04”, 3. Madison Stewart (NR) 109’0”; Shot put: 1. Stewart (NR) 38’8.5”, 2. Brooklyn Harrison (War) 37’7.5””, 3. Jordan Edington (Waw) 37’0.5”; Pole vault: 1. Megan Dearlove (War) 10’4”, 2. TIE Chelsea Bettis (EM) and Tricia Place (G) 9’4”.

Team scores: 1. Warsaw 169.33, 2. Northridge 116.5, 3. Elkhart Memorial 101.83, 4. Goshen 88.5, 5. Wawasee 84.33, 6. Concord 63.5, 7. Plymouth 53, 8. NorthWood 52.
4x800 relay: 1. Warsaw (Ismael Calderon, Jacob Poyner, Daniel Messenger, Tyler Houvener) 8:00.74, 2. Goshen 8:04.03, 3. Elkhart Memorial 8:04.43; 110 hurdles: 1. Clayton Cook (Waw) 15.19, 2. Taylor Cone (War) 15.34, 3. Austin Healey (NR) 15.7; 100: 1. Danotea Millsaps (EM) 10.99, 2. Wyatt Jones (War) 11.16, 3. Tristan McClone (War) 11.34; 1600: 1. Robert Murphy (War) 4:22.41, 2. Jacob Poyner (War) 4:25.25, 3. Reid Zimmerman (G) 4:27.43; 4x100: 1. Warsaw (Wyatt Jones, Nathan Kolbe, Gabrial Furnivall, Tristan McClone) 42.92, 2. Goshen 44.28, 3. Concord 44.32; 400: 1. Stewart McNeal (EM) 49.6, 2. Michael Hartman 50.05, 3. Furnivall (War) 50.35; 300 hurdles: 1. Cook (Waw) 40.07, 2. Cristian Barron (G) 40.27, 3. Ryan Goon (War) 40.82; 800: 1. Murphy (War) 1:54.21, 2. Zimmerman (G) 1:57.03, 3. Nick Skwarcan (NW) 1:47.7; 200: 1. Millsaps (EM) 22.16, 2. Jones (War) 22.53, 3. Caleb Platz (EM) 23.12; 3200: 1. Poyner (War) 9:31.01, 2. Blake O’Dell (NR) 9:38.77, 3. Jacob Frost (NR) 9:51.86; 4x400: 1. Memorial (Millsaps, Blake Kramer, McNeal, Jared Peek) 3:20.32, 2. Warsaw 3:20.59, 3. Goshen 3:30.2; High jump: 1. Will Stueve (NW) 6’5”, 2. J.J. Gilmer (Waw) 6’4”, 3. Bennett Parker (NW) 6’2”; Long jump: 1. David Doyle (EM) 20’9.75”, 2. Gilmer (Waw) 19’8.75”, 3. Kolbe (War) 119’7.5”; Discus: 1. Dan Samuelson (P) 143’10”, 2. Ethan Brown (Waw) 141’04”, 3. Adam Lacefield (P) 136’02”; Shot put: 1. Seth Fouts (War) 53’05”, 2. Samuelson (P) 51’7.25”, 3. Tyler Hoffman (C) 48’9.75”; Pole vault: 1. Josh Rheinheimer (NR) 13’8”, 2. Devin Puckett (NR) 13’0”, 3. Albert Gongwer (NW) 12’6”.