Eric Harris momentarily set a new MHSAA record in pole vault and Anthony DeKraker was all-state in four events as the Saline boys track and field team finished 3rd at the state meet Saturday.
East Kentwood won with 61 points. Pioneer was second with 39 points. Saline and Grand Blanc were tied for third with 37 points.
“Going into the meet we figured we would finish anywhere from second to fifth,” Coach Al Leslie said. “I thought we had a great day and I couldn’t be prouder of the boys.
Senior pole vaulter Harris cleared 16 feet 6 ½ inches and set a new MHSAA Division 1 record, but East Kentwood’s Trevor Stephenson surpassed that height, clearing 16-09.5. Both vaulters tried in vain to clear 17 feet. When neither did, Stephenson took the state title.
“It talked to a statistician from Run Michigan and he was it was the greatest day in the history of Michigan high school vaulting,” Leslie said. “Eric was pretty happy. It was his goal all year to clear 16-6 and he did it. The other kid just had the one better jump.”
Leslie said the star of the meet was Anthony DeKraker – who became joined Logan Wetzel, Steven Bastien and Skyler Bowden as the only Hornets to win all-state medals in four different events. (Athletes like Dustin Voss and Neil Atzinger might have accomplished the feat, but at their time only top three finishes earned all-state medals.”
DeKraker was third in the 1600 in a personal best 4:10.35 and fifth in the 800 with a personal-best 1:54. He helped the 4-by-800 relay team finish second in 7:46.95. DeKraker then turned around and helped the 4-by-400 team finish third.
“We went with Anthony in the 4-by-4 because we knew he had the strength and tenacity to get it done. He ran well despite running on fumes,” Leslie said. “It was a great finish to a great career at Saline.”
Sophomore Chris Chuparkoff also had a great day. He was finished fourth – behind three seniors – in the 400, completing the race in a personal-best 48..44 seconds. He also ran a great anchor for the third-place 4-by-400.
“The entire stadium was on its feet. Chris took the baton 15 meters behind the leader and he made up a lot of ground,” Leslie said. He came within a foot of beating the Pioneer runner.
Chuparkoff is setting himself up to be a state track and field star in his junior and senior years.
DeKraker, Cam Bacarella, Joshua Cook and Will Downey finished second in the 4-by-800 in 7:46.95.
Churparkoff, DeKraker, Winford Walker and Jack Fenelon were third in the 4-by-400 in 3:20.85.
The 4-by-100 relay team of Harris, Walker, Jamari Harris-Pryce and Nick Patteri finished 16th.
Harris was 17th in the long jump, leaping 20-08.25. Max Schneider was 22nd in the pole vault, clearing 13 feet.