Shrine steps up for Catholic League C-D track title
After finishing runner-up in the Catholic League C-D Division track and field championships the past six years, Royal Oak Shrine's N'Tia Jones and Irene Peaslee made sure that streak wouldn't reach seven.
The two seniors combined to win five individual events in Wednesday's title meet at Ladywood High to propel Shrine atop the podium for the first time since 1979 with 151 points.
Riverview Gabriel Richard placed second with 119 points. Waterford Lakes (76), Madison Heights Bishop Foley (60) and Allen Park Cabrini (49) rounded out the top five finishers.
"It felt good to finally break through to the top and we thought that maybe this could be our year," Shrine coach Wright Wilson said.
And it didn't hurt that 10-time defending C-D champ Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard was unable to defend its crown after being bumped up to the A-B Division.
"They were our nemisis. One year we were within one point of them and another we were within five points," Wilson said. "But we met the expectations we had. We didn't have to set the world on fire, we just had to show up and compete like we're capable of doing. ... This has eluded us for so long and it finally feels good to take home first place."
Peaslee took home individual titles in the 100-meter hurdles (16.63), 300 hurdles (54.21) and the high jump (4 feet, 9 inches), while Jones earned top honors in the 100 dash (13.71) and 200 (28.97).
"It's awesome to have our work finally pay off in the Catholic League," Peaslee said. "Being runner-up all three years and then being able to come out and get the victory not only for our senior year, but also our coaches. It's rewarding to give it to our coaches and set an example and share it with the underclassmen."
Riverview Gabriel Richard senior Casey Lyons (Riverview Gabriel Richard) and Waterford Lakes junior Tessa Fornari (Waterford Lakes) also claimed multiple individual crowns.
Lyons took first in the 400 (1:02.43) and 800 (2:32.63), and Fornari set a new C-D Division record in the 1,600 (5:23.14) and 3,200 (11:29.59), breaking the time of 5:28.24 in the 1,600 set by Lisa Einheuser of Oakland Christian in 1980 and Fornari's own mark of 11:48.00 in the 3,200 set in 2013.
James Hawkins is a freelance writer