Renaissance's Dominique Funchess, left, leads Cass Tech's Jazmen Evans in the 100-meter dash Thursday in the PSL championships. (Steve Perez / Detroit News)
It was a good day to be from Cass Tech. The boys and girls track and field teams swept the Detroit Public School League track and field championships on Thursday afternoon to earn bragging rights for the next year in the city.
The boys squad tore up their division with 151 points, beating out second-place East English Village by 73 points. The girls division was a bit closer throughout the day but, in the end, Cass Tech pulled away, scoring 183 points to beat runnerup and host Renaissance High School by 53 points.
It was a total team effort from both squads to win the titles. All in all, the boys team only had one first-place finish in all of the events — the 3,200-meter relay.
“We just placed in a lot of events,” Cass Tech boys coach Thomas Wilcher said. “We had seconds and thirds, fourths and fifths. It was a team effort. Kids did a real good job. Trying to keep it to more of a team rather than individual runners.”
It was indeed a team effort as Cass Tech wrapped up 21 top-five finishes. Savalas Morgan was one of the top finishers, taking second in the 110 hurdles (16.14 seconds), and second in the 300 hurdles (43.85).
Cameron Cooper was second in the 1,600 (4:47.67), second in the 3,200 (10:57.61), and fourth in the 800 (2:09.08). Along with Cooper and Morgan, Rodney Hall was third in the 300 hurdles (46.02), and fourth in the 110 hurdles (17.33).
The title was Cass Tech’s fourth in a row. The fourpeat comes as a bit of surprise with just two seniors on the squad, but Wilcher knows that commitment is key to winning.
“I think the kids get a little bit dedicated too. That makes a big difference,” he said.
As for winning the fourth consecutive PSL championship, Wilcher was proud, but also looking forward to next year.
“Feels great, I just hope that we can keep it going,” he said. “We got a lot of young kids coming back.”
As for the girls, the victory was a surprise for coach Chris Wright, despite winning three of the past four years.
“Real, real inexperienced this year,” Wright said. “Total team effort, top to bottom.”
Having no track at Cass Tech and having to run inside without a long jump pit, or a high jump mat, it’s a huge accomplishment for the team.
There were a few standouts for Wright’s team. Simonae Dismuke won the 400 (57.91), her third consecutive victory in the event at the PSL championships.
“She didn’t start running until high school,” Wright said. “(She’s a) great leader.”
Dismuke also finished first in the 200 (25.99).
Another standout was Jazmen Evans, who finished second in the 100 (12.62), and second in the 200 (26.10s). Alexandria Hickson also finished third in the 300 hurdles (54.60), and second in the high jump (4 feet, 6 inches).
Cass Tech had five wnners, but it was the points later on that helped them out. They had 18 other top-five finishers to help secure the victory.
As for the fourth PSL championship in five years, Wright couldn’t have been more proud.
“It feels good, because last year I had about five or six seniors and I was expecting us to win,” Wright said. “We came up a little short, but this year is so satisfying. They really worked hard; they earned this.”
Chris Zadorozny is a freelance writer.