Detroit — It came down to the final three races, but Detroit Cass Tech was able to escape with its third consecutive Detroit Public School League girls track and field championship thanks to a couple of clutch performances down the stretch.
Entering the 200-meter dash, Cass Tech held a slim 136-133 lead over Renaissance with each school sending two of the top four qualifiers in the event to the starting blocks.
Mizan Thomas, a sophomore sprinter for Renaissance, had already taken home the 100-meter championship early in the day with a time of 12.6 seconds. Her teammate Deshonda Johnson finished just behind her at 13.15. Cass Tech’s Demya Carson came in third in that race.
With Thomas, Johnson, Carson and top qualifier Amari Newsom all set to battle it out, it was game on for the city championship.
Newsom proved to be the one with the most gas in the tank, finishing with a time of 26.66, coming in just ahead of Carson (26.93) as the Cass Tech duo finished first and second.
The blistering heat seemed to take its toll on the pair from Renaissance as Thomas and Johnson finished fifth and sixth.
The win all but wrapped up the city championship for Cass Tech, who added a win in the 4x400 relay for good measure to take down Renaissance, 176-163.
Detroit King finished in third place with 103 points.
“They’re both sophomores and those were very big points,” Cass Tech coach Chris Wright said of Newsom and Carson. “They know I depend on them. They’re young, but they’re good.”
An exhausted Newsom had to lie down on the trainer’s table after the 200, saying that the heat was getting to her.
Still, she wore a smile a mile wide.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Newsom said. “We really wanted to three-peat.”
Newsom and Carson were both part of the winning 4x200 relay team for Cass Tech while Newsom also finished second in the 400-meter dash.
For Wright, replacing key seniors from last year’s squad wasn’t easy, but he thinks he’s got the pieces in place to keep winning.
“What makes me proud of these girls is their hard work and preparation,” Wright said. “I expect us to do well. I have a very young team that’s very inexperienced, but we don’t use that as an excuse to not be successful.”
The championship is the sixth in seven years for Wright and the ladies of Cass Tech.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.