Three-sport star Allen leads Loyola to track crown
Novi -- Detroit Loyola coach Lawsonja Robinson could muster only one word following her team’s Catholic League C-D boys track and field championship win on Wednesday, its second in as many years.
With 144 points, Loyola took down second-place finisher Riverview Gabriel Richard, which had 113.
“They really stepped up,” Robinson said of her team, which only has 11 members. “I’m very proud of them. Outstanding. Great job.”
Loyola ran five in the finals of the 100-meter dash, placing four in the top five – including the winner, Hunter Harris.
“Things felt pretty good,” the junior said. “We were trying to repeat as champions, so we knew we needed a lot of people in the finals.”
Harris finished in 11.07 seconds, while teammate Price Watkins crossed in 11.41. The difference between third and fifth place was less than two tenths of a second.
“It was a little bit of a shaky start,” Harris said. “But I got on my drive pace really fast and I finished the race really good. It was a good build up for states.”
Robinson said her team’s strong suit is on the track, despite taking first in the shot put and the discus.
“We run 11, bottom line,” she said. “I told them to give it all they’ve got, leave it on the track and stay focused.”
Clayborn Allen took first in the shot put and discus for Loyola, throwing 43 feet, 11 inches and 124 feet, 5 inches, respectively.
“It’s my first time winning here,” the senior said. “It’s probably the highlight of my season. I know it’s probably the best we’ve done in the field events in a while.”
In the discus, where Allen has already qualified to participate at states, the 124’ 5” beats a five-day old personal best of 114’.
Allen is a three-sport athlete, also playing football and bowling, and will attend Bowling Green State University in the fall.
“Switching from football to track wasn’t that different, but going from bowling helped out with my throwing,” he said.
Robinson said there’s one thing her team wants to do at states.
“We really want to come in first,” Robinson said. “We want to get after it. We’re doing a lot of running. I want it.”
Full boys results
First place: Detroit Loyola, 144 points
Second place: Riverview Gabriel Richard, 113 points
Third place: Allen Park Cabrini, 94 points
Fourth place: Madison Heights Bishop Foley, 53 points
Fifth place: Royal Oak Shrine, 46 points
Sixth place: Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 25 points
Seventh place: Ray Township Austin Catholic Academy, 9 points
Eighth place: Detroit Cristo Rey, 7 points
Ninth place: Waterford Lakes, 2 points
Al Willman is a freelance writer