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Oak Park's girls track team dominated the Division 1 state finals this past spring to repeat as state champion, defeating runner-up East Kentwood, 93-54.5.

Now, Oak Park's program continues to impress as part of the Motor City Track Club, finishing second in three relays and fourth in another this past weekend in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Johnyce Powell, Dorriann Coleman, Ersula Farrow and Anna Jefferson combined to run the 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 36.72 seconds, which would rank No. 1 in state history.

"Their performance is a testament of commitment, hard work and dedication," Oak Park coach Brandon Jiles said. "To be able to run a time like that on the biggest stage in high school track and field speaks volumes about how good they are … 3:36.72 is the eighth best time in high school history (nationally).

"Overall as a team we easily rank in the top five nationally with Union Catholic (New Jersey), Western Branch (Chesapeake, Virginia), Miami Northwestern and Nansemond River (Virginia)."

Jeff Hollobaugh, who handles statistics for Michigan high school track and is a former managing editor of Track & Field in California, wanted to put the time of Powell-Coleman-Farrow-Jefferson in perspective.

"That program of Oak Park's has put Michigan on the map nationally in terms of sprints," Hollobaugh said. "I mean that 4x400 time would rank No. 12 in this year's NCAA Championships. It would have been good enough to win 24 of the last 34 Big Ten Championships. It would be within a second of Michigan State and Michigan's school record.

"Think about it, all four of their splits would have topped the Division 1 winning time of Rockford's Sammy Cuneo (55.32) in this year's state meet. Really, it's mind-blowing."

Powell had a split of 54.38, Coleman's 54.42, Farrow's 54.77 and Jefferson's 53.16.

"We were all nervous before the race, just sitting in the van and trying not to think about it," Jefferson said. "We knew we were all fast runners and just couldn't let the competition get to us. We had to get brave and be ready.

"I was the anchor and I was so nervous I felt like I was going to throw up. All the girls ran great and they were depending on me and I knew I had to carry my weight. I just executed the game plan and let my legs carry me.

When it got down to the last 100 I saw Sydney McLaughlin (of Union Catholic) and said, 'Don't let her go (past me).' When they (Union Catholic) finished first at 3:35, I'm like, 'Then, what's our time?' It still felt perfect even though we were second."

McLaughlin finished with a split of 51.2.

Oak Park won a state championship in the 3,200 relay this past spring when Jayla Fleming, Lashae Bowens, Farrow and Coleman combined for a winning time of 8:54.29.

At the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, Tamea McKelvy, Brianna Holloway, Jefferson and Coleman ran a 3:56 in the 1,600 sprint medley relay for runner-up honors with what would be considered a state-record time.

Farrow graduated and will run at Clemson. Jefferson, who will be a senior this fall, has already been offered by Texas, Texas A&M, Ohio State, UCLA and South Carolina.

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

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