By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half
HUDSONVILLE – Harbor Springs’ Emily Kloss has been coaching track and field for more than two decades.
Throughout her career, however, one accomplishment had eluded her.
That was until Saturday afternoon at Hudsonville’s Baldwin Middle School.
Harbor Springs claimed the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 Track and Field Final championship. It was the first in school history.
The Rams finished with 57 points, while Fowler placed runner-up with 53.5 points. Concord (50) and was third, and defending champion Reading (48) was fourth.
“I’m super excited because we brought 11 girls here and every single one of them placed and medaled,” said Kloss, who coaches with her husband, Mike. “This is my 25th year coaching, but the first state championship won for track.”
Harbor Springs’ cross country program has won two MHSAA Finals and placed runner-up twice, but the track and field crown has special meaning.
Kloss’ hometown is Fowler, and she and Fowler’s coach, Jill Feldpausch, were teammates in high school.
“We won state championships together so this is pretty special, especially for them to take second,” Kloss said.
Senior Charlotte Cullip, who placed runner-up in the 400 to teammate Salix Sampson, was thrilled to end her career with a victory in the Finals.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’ve run forever in cross and track and this is my last year, so it’s amazing. Our coaches looked at the stats and thought we had a chance. I didn’t believe them until the 4 X 4, and then I thought we could do it.
“We had throwers, pole vaulters, distance runners, relays. We had everything, and I’m so glad it all came together this last year.”
Sampson clocked a 58.99 in the 400 and was the anchor on the victorious 1,600 relay (4:08.14).
“Our team has worked really hard at it, and our coach doesn’t say that we can do something if we can’t,” Sampson said. “We had a lot of good freshmen come through, and they really powered through. We couldn’t have done this without them, and the seniors have been there since the beginning.”
Kloss credited her seniors for helping propel the team to the top of the standings.
“My seniors have worked so hard, and we broke two school records today,” she said. “I’m pretty excited to finally do it with the great seniors that we have. Everyone worked really hard, and it is nice to end it this way.”
Sophomore Caylin Bonser took fifth in the discus and fifth in the shot put, while teammate Erika Lechner, a sophomore, was fourth in the shot put.
The weather Saturday changed dramatically, and the final portion of the meet was run in light rain, wind and cooler temperatures.
“We’re used to this crappy weather,” Kloss joked. “We had snow at our conference meet last week.”
Fowler senior Ashley Hufnagel led her team’s charge.
She won the 300 hurdles (47.38), placed runner-up in the high jump (5-2), and led off the 800 relay, which won with a time of 1:48.35.
Fowler also finished runner-up to Onekama in the 400 relay. Also contributing to the win were junior Madison Koenigsknecht and freshmen McKenzie Feldpausch and Sidney Horak.
Mason County Eastern sophomore Jordan Goodman won the 100 for the second year in a row, and in record time.
Goodman raced to a narrow win by clocking a 12.40, which tied the LP Division 4 Final record set by Pewamo-Westphalia’s Abbey Hengesbach in 2010.
“I was nervous at the beginning, but then I thought, ‘this is my favorite race’,” Goodman said. “I’m a sophomore, I need a scholarship and this is my race. I like being out there, and I feel strong in that event. I feel like I can run really fast.”
Goodman held off Concord’s Lindsey Lehman by two hundredths of a second.
“I felt a little bit of pressure, and I was worried because I know Lindsey and (Reading’s) Jennifer Davis were running some pretty good times,” Goodman said. “I just got in the right frame of mind. I ran a 12.1 this year, so I thought if I could do that again then I would be all right.”
Goodman also placed sixth in the 200 and sixth in the long jump.
Lehman recovered to edge Davis in a photo finish in the 200 by clocking a 25.92.
Click for full results.
PHOTO: Salix Sampson (middle) and teammate Charlotte Cullip race to the top two places in the 400 during Saturday's LP Division 4 Final. (Click to see more from RunMichigan.com. Photo by Janina Pollatz.)