By: John Raffel
Clare girls win MITCA
Two championships in one.
That was the case for Clare’s track team, which hosted the MITCA team meeting over Memorial Day weekend. Both the boys and girls teams took first in Division 3.
While the boys also won the MHSAA title, the girls fell to 27th place.
Yet, the MITCA team signified the Clare girls, coached by Kyle McKown, as true state champions.
“MITCA is a meet where everyone counts in every single event,” McKown said. “At no point of the season were we ranked No. 1, so we knew we’d have to overcome some really good teams that were ranked ahead of us going into the meet. The day of the meet, we had some great performances early on that really allowed the girls to build on our depth and continue to move up throughout the meet.”
Clare had 1,423 points while Adrian Madison placed second with 1,361.5.
Lainey Veenkamp won the 1600 meter run (5:18.32) to spearhead the effort. Abby Mellish placed third in the long jump (15-0 1/4). Natalie Kunse placed second in the discus (101-2) with a personal record.
“It was just a collection of efforts all day long with kids who were ranked in certain spots and finishing higher than they were ranked,” McKown said. “So that collection of strong performances all day really propelled us to be more like second or third and going all the way to the top spot.”
It was a different ballgame a week later at Comstock Park in the MHSAA finals. St. Charles won with 46 points while Clare placed 27th with eight.
“Our priority all season was the team state meet,” McKown said. “We felt like we had more depth across the board. We’re a better team in that style of meet. I knew we would probably not score as many points at the MHSAA meet. Our main priority was the team state meet.”
The Pioneer girls also appear to have a bright future.
“We are a young team and bring back a lot of girls next year,” McKown said.