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Eagle thinclads win D-3 regional crown

  There is a reason why the Frankenmuth varsity boys’ track team travels to the Bad Axe Invitational in early May over recent seasons.

  The Bad Axe Invitational gives Eagle Coach Jerry Drake the opportunity to size up the upcoming regional competition, it gives the athletes a chance to check out the facilities ahead of the regional and the competition is usually keen.

  All those reasons factored into the Eagle thinclads winning their second consecutive MHSAA Division 3 Regional at Bad Axe, held May 16.

  Frankenmuth used depth and balance to pile up 121.50 points to edge Marlette with 114 points and Reese with 75 points. Those schools also travel a week before the regional to the Bad Axe Invite.

  “Last week, we beat Marlette by five points so we knew going in they were the team to beat,” Drake said. The kids gave great effort, beating a team on paper that should be better than us.”

  Drake knew by the 3200-meter run that ‘Muth had enough points to win the regional crown.

  The top two individuals or teams at the regional will move on to the MHSAA Division 3 State Finals, set for Saturday, May 30, at Comstock Park. The top eight places at the regional added points to the team total.

  Weight event specialist Matt McGee and hurdler/high jumper Grant Bronner led the way for the Eagles.

  McGee, a senior, tore up his knee two years ago and has returned with vengeance. McGee topped the 50-foot mark for the first time in the shot put, with a toss of 50-feet, 3-inches. Teammate Dan Stone, a sophomore, took second place with a throw of 45-2.25.

  McGee also chose a good time for his personal best effort in the discus, with a throw of 155-05.

  Bronner won the high jump at 6-2 and had good attempts at 6-4 before bowing out, Drake recalled. Micheal Crary collected a half point in the event by going 5-6.

  Bronner also qualified for the state finals in the 110m hurdles, with a time of :15.67. Michael Benson and Jonathan Worden took fourth and fifth place, respectively, at :16.08 and :16.30 to add points for the team.

  Worden took third place in the 300m hurdles with a time of :41.82, however, he qualified for the state meet by besting the qualifying time of :42.70. Bronner was fifth and just missed that mark with time of :42.77.

  Sprinter and senior Denver Bonkowski won the 200m dash, clocking a :23.35. There was heartbreak in the 100m dash as Bonkowski took third place with a time of :11.67. Second place was Almont’s Mike Coach with a razor-close :11.66.

  Denver took it easy in the 200m prelims, doing enough to qualify. He ended up in lane eight and just did not want to be caught,” Drake said.

  Colin Worden broke in a new pole for the pole vault and cleared 12 feet for the first time – good for second place.

  None of the relay teams qualified for the state meet but added points toward the regional title.

   The 400m relay team of Joey Seder, Stephen Messing, Bronner and Bonkowski clocked a third-place time of :45.70.

  The 1600m relay quartet of Riley Fassezke, Crary, Jake Rummel and Bennett Dwan settled on fourth place with a time of 3:37.33.

  The 800m relay foursome of Seder, Messing, Dwan and Bonkowski took fifth place, crossing the finish line at 1:35.47.

    The 3200m relay squad of Logan Karney, Josh Fitch, Eric Hayes and Alex Benko were sixth place, registering a 9:16.31.

  Other top eight athletes adding points were Dwan in the 400m dash in third place (:53.40) and Rummel in fifth place in the same event (:53.62); and Fassezke in the 800m run, fifth place (2:06.55). He bested his previous best mark of 2:10.

  Wagner also dealt with a hip injury to Isaak Biddle, pulling him from the relays and running him in the 3200m only. Dwan’s family had a CO detector problem the night before the meet, forcing them to stay in a hotel overnight and come by private vehicle to Bad Axe.

  Several athletes finished in ninth or 10th place, just missing the team totals. Fitch was ninth in the 1600m run (5:08.55), Benko was ninth in the 800m run (2:13.92), Biddle was ninth in the 3200m run (11:34.78), Jonathan Worden was 10th in the long jump (17-8.50), and Cory Knoll and Stone were ninth and 10th, respectively, in the discus (123-7 and 115-9).

  The Eagle thinclads are competing in Birch Run today (May 20) for the Tri-Valley Conference Invitational. They were invited to compete at the MITCA Division 3 Team Finals in Shepherd on Saturday, May 23 and the Thumb Meet of Champions on Tuesday, May 26.


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