Saline Boys Win 7th Straight SEC Track and Field Championship

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 05/13/2017 - 00:55

Saline ran to its seventh straight boys SEC Red track and field championship Friday at Bedford High School.

Saline finished with 219 points. Monroe was second with 154.

Coach Al Leslie said winning the SEC was one of the team’s pre-season goals.

“Every year we walk into this meet we want to win it. We want that league title. It’s a big deal for us to continue to stay at the top of our league,” Leslie said.

Saline’s girls team finished third with 94 points. Pioneer won with 222.5 points. Skyline was third with 124.5.

Here’s your list of SEC Red individual and relay champions:

  • Sean Duffy, 400 meters, 49.8 seconds
  • Spencer Leslie, 800 meters, 1:57.48
  • Anthony DeKraker, 3200 meters, 9:40.54
  • Jessi Larson, 3200 meters, 11:18.68
  • Jameson Swanson, 110 hurdles, 15:06
  • 4-by-200 relay (Swanson, Robbie Felton, Winford Walker, Duffy), 1:29.55.
  • 4-by-400 relay (Leslie, Felton, Jacob Brunty, Duffy), 3:24.07
  • CJ Gildersleeve, shot put, 49-10.5 feet
  • Preston Filla, high jump, 5-10
  • Sloane Pepper, high jump, 5-0
  • Eric Harris, pole vault, 14-06
  • Skyler Hardt, pole vault, 10-00

On the boys’ side, Saline showed strength in just about every event.

In the field, CJ Gildersleeve had a remarkable day, throwing the 12-pound shot 49 feet and 10 ½ inches. He won the event by a little more than a foot. Nathan Powers finished third with a personal best throw of 46-02.

“Coach Mike Lyle is doing a great job with the throwers. CJ had a tremendous day and Nathan keeps getting better and doing great things for a guy who’s only been throwing six weeks,” Leslie said.

The Hornets dominated the pole vault, with junior Eric Harris winning. He cleared 14 feet, six inches. Senior Kyle Nouhan was second (13-06) and sophomore Luke Atzinger was fourth (12 feet).

“When you can put three athletes in the top four, that really helps the team,” Leslie said.

Preston Filla won the high jump by clearing 5-10. Freshman Kyle Greenwood leaped 18 feet, one inch in the long jump.

Sean Duffy won the 400 meters event, finishing in 49.8 seconds. Duffy was also second to Monroe’s Donovan Isaac in the 200 (22.82 vs 22.63).

“Sean’s a self-made man. When you saw him as a freshman, you wouldn’t have guessed he was going to be an SEC champion. But he just kept working and working and working and now he’s one of the best runners around,” Leslie said.

Senior Spencer Leslie, the coach’s son, ran a personal best 1:57.48 to win the 800 meters.

“He’s run great times in relays, but this was the first time he ran this confidence individually. It was great to see,” coach Leslie said.

Anthony DeKraker ran away from everyone in the 3200 meters. He finished with a time of 9:40.54 – nearly 13 seconds faster than anyone else.

Saline’s other individual victory came from junior Jameson Swanson, who won the 110 hurdles in 15.06 seconds.

Other strong performances came from:

  • Ryan Farr, 300 hurdles, 2nd, 41.25 (PR).
  • Jevin Nishioka, 1600 meters, 3rd, 4:27.43 (PR).
  • Robbie Felton, 100 meters, 3rd, 11.53.

In the relays, Swanson, Felton, Walker and Duffy won the 4-by-200 and Leslie, Felton, Brunty and Duffy finished the meet by winning the 4-by-400 by more than three seconds (3:24.07). DeKraker, Aidan Carichner, William Downey and Leslie were second in the 4-by-800 relay (7:54.16). Felton, Swanson, Hibbard and Boyd were second to Monroe in the 4-by-100 (43.91).

Leslie said the sprint relays were helped by Robbie Felton, who is running healthy again.

The Hornets now turn their attention to next Friday’s regional at Saline High School, where the team hopes to win its seventh straight regional title.

On the girls’ side, junior Jessi Larson continues to find her pace after recovering from injuries. Larson easily won the 3200 meters event in 11:18.68 – more than 20 seconds faster than the next fastest runner.

Senior Skyler Hardt won the pole vault, clearing 10 feet, six inches more than anyone else. Hardt will attempt to qualify for the state meet once again next week at the regional.

Saline’s other victory was in high jump, where sophomore Sloane Pepper is SEC champ after clearing 5 feet. Nobody else cleared higher than 4-08. This is Pepper’s first year out for track and field.

Saline struggled to gain points with state powerhouse Pioneer dominating the event. But the Hornets were well represented, especially by their younger runners.

  • Freshman Amera Boyd finished fourth in the 100 meters in 13.42.
  • Freshman Lauryn Hunt was fourth in the 400 meters in 1:00.78.
  • Freshman Ella Woehlke was seventh in the 800 meters in 2:26.08.
  • Seophomore Emma Cummings was fifth in the 1600 meters in 5:24.94.
  • Emily Cook was fourth in the 100 hurdles in 17.07 and third in the 300 hurdles in a PR time of 48.19.



Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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